4 Causes of Information Overload

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In today’s connected society, you can find information anywhere, and at any time of the day. With this constant barrage of information, we can quickly succumb to information overload. There is just too much information for us to process these days, and it can have a devastating effect on our health, as well as our mood. This constant state of information overload that we find ourselves in today can be attributed to the following causes.

1. More Information Than We Can Process

If you search the web for just about any topic, you’ll get millions of results. Add to this the hundreds of eBooks and dozens of traditionally published books that you can purchase, and you quickly succumb to information overload. There is no way you can process all of this information in a lifetime. Just trying to discover who is an authority on the topic adds a whole other dimension to your search.

2. Bombardment of Unsolicited Information

Every day we are bombarded with unsolicited information through our emails and social media networks. Along with all the SPAM mail we receive on a daily basis, we are constantly bombarded with ads when you search the Internet. We have email lists that we have subscribed to that are no longer relevant to our work, and social media notifications for news feeds that we are no longer following. All this adds up to an increased amount of unsolicited information that we have to deal with just to get to the information that we’ve requested.

4 Causes of Information Overload

3. Accelerated Speed of New Information

Keeping up with the flow of information was a lot easier when the majority of our data was delivered by mail or obtained through the daily newspaper. Today, thanks to the Internet and social media, we have to deal with a flood of information that is rushing at us from all sides. Not only has the speed of delivery increased, but it continues to accelerate.

4. Decreased Value of Information

At one point in our history, the information age was based on the principle that information was valuable. Today, in the attention age, the glut of information that is available, has changed the perceived value of this information causing it to plummet quickly. This applies to all information since we don’t have an efficient way to honestly evaluate what is essential, what is merely redundant, and what is plain junk.

The amount of information and ease with which we can obtain it has increased exponentially over the last several decades. The best way to combat information overload is to understand the causes behind the condition. Once you know what causes information overload, you can begin to develop strategies to beat it.

3 COMMENTS

  1. When I started to college again in 2011, some professors reminded us that this was not high school. That here we would be required to research every topic and produce papers with APA formatting.
    Many students succumbed to the overload and subsequently either dropped out or received a lessor grade. As a baby boomer, I was used to researching, and sifting through nonsensical offerings, to find a legitimate source.
    Our brains did not explode, and still to this day I do not believe in overload. I believe in conditioning. With billions of neurons and synopsis we can process and retain trillions of pieces of data. However if we are not geniuses to begin with, it may seem like a challenge. But where would the fun be, if we couldn’t challenge ourselves?

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