Sunday Morning Sermon - Dec 8 2013
In recent years, the term "information overload" has evolved into phrases such as "information glut" and "data smog". What was once a term grounded in cognitive psychology has evolved into a rich metaphor used outside the world of academia. In many ways, the advent of information technology has increased the focus on information overload: information technology may be a primary reason for information overload due to its ability to produce more information more quickly and to disseminate this information to a wider audience than ever before.
"Information overload" is also known as infobesity or infoxication, and is a phrase popularized by Alvin Toffler in his bestselling 1970 book, "Future Shock". It refers to the difficulty a person can have understanding an issue, making decisions, and responding, that can be caused by the presence of too much information that becomes too heavy to digest at a single moment in time. The term itself is mentioned in a 1964 book by
Bertram Gross, The Managing of Organizations. “Information overload occurs when the amount of input to a system exceeds its processing capacity. Decision makers have fairly limited cognitive processing capacity. Consequently, when information overload occurs, it is likely that a reduction in decision quality will occur.”
In today's society, day-to-day activities increasingly involve the technological world where Information technology exacerbates the number of interruptions that occur in the work environment. There has been a study from 1997 that found 50% of management in Fortune 1000 companies were disrupted more than six times an hour by emails they were receiving. Being compared to this decade's use of the internet, management are commonly more disrupted which leads to more interruptions on their decision making and result in more poor quality made decisions.
As the world moves into a new era of globaliz
tion, an increasing number of people are connecting to the Internet to conduct their own research and are given the ability to produce as well as consume the data accessed on an increasing number of websites, blogs and social media groups. Users are now classified as active users because more people in society are participating in the Digital and Information Age. More and more people are considered to be active writers and viewers because of their participation. This flow has created a new life where we are now in danger of becoming dependent on this method of access to information. Therefore we see an information overload from the access to so much information, almost instantaneously, without knowing the validity of the content and the risk of misinformation.
According to Sonora Jha of Seattle University, journalists are using the Web to conduct their research, getting information regarding interviewing sources and press releases, updating news online, and thus it shows the gradual shifts in attitudes because of the rapid increase in use of the Internet. Lawrence Lessig has described this as the "read-write" nature of the internet.
“The resulting abundance of – and desire for more (and/or higher quality) – information has come to be perceived in some circles, paradoxically, as the source of as much productivity loss as gain.” Information Overload can lead to “information anxiety,” which is the gap between the information we understand and the information that we think that we must understand. As people consume increasing amounts of information in the form of news stories, e-mails, blog posts,
Facebook statuses, Tweets, Tum blr posts and other new sources of information, they become their own editors, gatekeepers, and aggregators of information. One concern in this field is that massive amounts of information can be distracting and negatively impact productivity and decision-making. Another concern is the "contamination" of useful information with information that might not be entirely accurate (Information pollution). Research done is often done with the view that Information Overload is a problem that can be understood in a rational way.
Many people do find it difficult to manage this type of information pressure by way of what they receive in their email in-boxes on a daily basis. One often hears of peeps asking senders to remove them from their mailing lists and stop sending them junk mail. Spammers, Advertisers, and other sales people also gun for email addresses to which they can direct their traffic seeking commercial gain. Religious gurus and other proselytizers use it to spread their faith. Con artists try to lure in people to part with their hard earned cash using very deceptive methods of lure and enticement.
Human beings will always be human beings and many fal, for these traps and suffer the consequence. Some simply cant handle all the garbage that pours in and try to stay aloof and private as much as possible. Suspicion is at its peak cos no one wants to accept another as a "good guy/gal" until he/she has proven himself/herself.
Accessibility is the key factor of this phenomenon that opens the doors of intruding on peoples privacy and time.
At the end of the day what matters is how we manage ourselves in dealing with this glut of information that invades us on a very regular basis. Many dont even look at the way in which this can be done, so easily and successfully, and simply crumble to the pressure.
All it takes a little bit of information management, I tell you.