Information overload is great!

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Information overload is great!

  
  
  

food for thoughtCan you keep up in your business or do you experience information overload? “Between the dawn of civilization through 2003 about 5 exabytes of information was created. Now, that much information created every 2 days.”, says Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google until 2011).

No wonder we suffer from information overload, or do we?

The bulk of the data is user generated content because today - thanks to the internet - everyone can be a publisher. On a day in the internet 250 millions photo’s are uploaded to Facebook, 864,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube and 294 billion emails are sent (data by MBAonline).

This creating and sharing of content creates a real explosion of data. A lifetime is not enough to consume the content that is created in one day. On first sight this looks like information overload, but let's have another look.

It’s not information overload but a lack of filters

Suppose we compare information to food, as is done is the great TED talk by JP Rangaswami. There are so many different ways in which we consume food, similar to consuming information. “Information, if viewed from the point of view of food is never a production issue; you never speak of food overload. It’s a consumption issue, and we have to start thinking about how we create diets and exercise”, he says. How can we label information (like we label the fat percentage of food) and deal with it responsibly?

We in the Western world have more food that we can consume, so we need to restrict and make healthy choices. The same is true for information. Remember Morgan Spurlock’s documentary film "Super Size Me"? During a period of 30 days he only ate McDonald’s food and this appeared to have a drastic effect on this physical and psychological well-being. Now imagine, what would happen if an individual had 30 days non-stop Fox News?

You need to balance your diet of information and make healthy choices in this area as well. The data you consume will shape your thoughts and ideas. The data you consume will consequently direct the decisions you make. So you need ways to identify the right kind of data and information.

Why is this abundance of data a good thing?

We’ve seen it’s not about data consumption, but about information extraction. It's pointless trying to keep up with everything. You don't need more time, you just need better tools.

Based on the enormous amounts of content on the web, far more prediction is possible than we’ve seen today. We don't need a solution for information overload. It won't go away. We just need to learn how to deal with it. And we can do so much with these data. If only we have the right tools; labeling engines, filters and processing aids.

How do you feel about information overload and filter failure? Do you have experience with reaping the benefits of this enormous amount of daily information? Please share your thoughts with us via the comments.

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Comments

Actually, it all depends on the usage model - whether you're expected to read it all or not. I discuss the distinction at length in http://bit.ly/T4D2H0 
Posted @ Sunday, May 12, 2013 6:52 AM by Nathan Zeldes
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us Nathan. I've read your blog as well and agree with your point of view. We've always had more information than we could read. It's just that now there is even more and we need to know that (1) we don't have to read it all and (2) we need filters to find what matters to us and read that.
Posted @ Monday, May 13, 2013 5:17 AM by Barbara
In my personal case i am thinking about paradygm shift. From accomulation of knowlege to having fun in a flow. I mean you dont need to create 'history' or collection of knowledge, like an old time. You just need to step into flow and step out when refreshed enough. I think huge amount and variety of data give me a great opportunty to shape my way of dealing with knowldge.
Posted @ Wednesday, November 06, 2013 3:26 PM by Ivan Savelyev
So we mostly control our food intake through restaurant menu's or meal planning (shopping lists) and by food pricing. These are not acceptable filters for our daily information. If we choose only what we want to know (information shopping) we step blindly into the future. If we have to pay more to know more we will remain hopelessly ignorant. And as we have seen, we can't rely on MSM to tell us what we really need to know. MSM's corporate bias conveniently leaves out, or glosses over too much important information. Perhaps a better answer will come from crowed source filtering. There are a lot of individuals condensing what they are seeing on their blogs. Then there are a lot of blog readers selecting the most relevant posts to re-publish on their own sites. But this still allows for too much shopping for data, which bolsters a persons' existing belief systems. And the whole internet data overload mess/MSM sillyness causes many to just throw up their hands and drop out of information seeking activity altogether.
Posted @ Saturday, May 17, 2014 7:43 AM by Brian Lynch
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