When I learned Wednesday night that Google Reader is shutting down, I literally broke into a sweat. Like many journalists, I’ve come to rely on the 242 RSS subscriptions I manage through Google Reader. It’s the first thing I check every morning — second only to making a cup of coffee — and, along with Twitter and email, one of the top three resources I use to do my job. And honestly, if I had to get rid of one of those, it would be the email.
Every day, a new app or service arrives with the promise of helping people cut down on the flood of information they receive. It’s the natural result of living in a time when an ever-increasing number of news providers push a constant stream of headlines at us every day.
But what if it’s the ways we choose to read the news — not the glut of news providers — that make us feel overwhelmed? An interesting new study out of the University of Texas looks at the factors that contribute to the concept of information overload, and found that, for some people, the platform on which news is being consumed can make all the difference between whether you feel overwhelmed.
With the rise of the Internet, electronic books, blogs and mobile devices, we’re in a time with more information at our fingertips than ever before. Ideas are everywhere. In fact, studies show each individual now receives five times as much information daily as we did a quarter-century ago.
As data become cheaper and more widely available, more app developers are finding creative ways to take advantage of the information overload. (more…)
At times I find myself alternately enthralled and appalled by the digital world in which we live.
That I could recently watch a man jump out of space on my phone, or watch the full US presidential debates as I commuted to work on the other side of the world, shows the beauty of today’s hyperconnected, fast-moving new reality.
Having information and being informed are not the same thing, and they do not have equal value. If, in what we call “information overload,” we have just enough time to catch an eye-full of headlines from our RSS readers, a cluster of 140-character tweets or pithy commentary on Facebook, then we have an ever-greater need for media literacy – the ability to decode messages in the way news and information are presented.
Julie Wedgwood introduced her talk session titled “Managing Information Overload” by speaking about how much information comes our way every single day and how that could impact the way we introduce social networking into our (learning) business.
Does your family have to pry your smartphone and laptop away from you on vacation? If so, the book Hamlet’s BlackBerry may convince you to unplug and unwind. In Hamlet’s BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age, William Powers explores our addiction to information overload, and attempts to help us unplug and unwind.
Not a day goes by when I’m not asked about whether or not the social media bubble will finally burst. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Foursquare, Pinterest, this all has to be too much right? More often than not, I’m expected to assume the role of psychologist to either validate their digital existence or help individuals understand, and in some cases cope, with what is most often diagnosed as information overload.
Is your inbox groaning with hundreds of unread emails? Is your mobile phone constantly buzzing with alerts and updates? Do you feel anxious, overtired and unable to concentrate? If so, don’t worry. You are one of millions of people suffering from a perfectly normal condition: it’s called information overload.