Information, the very thing that makes it possible to be an engineer, a doctor, a lawyer, or any other kind of modern information worker, is threatening our ability to do our work. How’s that for irony? The global economy may run on countless streams, waves, and pools of information, but unrestrained, that tidal wave of data is drowning us. It washes away our productivity and creativity, swamps our social lives, and can even shipwreck our relationships.
CIO Jeff Saper drives a hybrid car, favors service providers that use alternative energy and has launched many green IT initiatives at his strategic communications firm, Robinson Lerer & Montgomery LLC in New York. But he’s also concerned about a type of pollution that even Al Gore has yet to tackle: digital pollution.
The recent growth of information sources such as blogs, social networks, news aggregators, microblogs like Twitter, instant messaging and e-mail has been exponential. And with broadband penetration among active Internet users expected to break 90% this year, according to Internet marketing firm Website Optimization LLC, there aren’t many people today who haven’t experienced some form of information overload.
As I have been talking to many firms about their social networking strategy, a problem often comes up in the conversation that is more personal to the people involved. As they are, correctly, exploring the social media themselves, they begin to feel the effects of information overload and want to know how they should handle it.
I do not pretend I know all the answers on this subject. But I think it is something that all of us that play or work on line tend to feel at one point or another. And I know if my case, I have found a couple ways to deal with it.