Information Overload – Am I Going Crazy or Just Blinded by the Data?

I have to admit it, I am an Information Junky.  My daily fix for Information and Data comes from a multitude of sources and the prospect that 5 days from now I will be incredibly limited in my access to information for 6 days has me already Jonesing.  I have been downloading like crazy and will use the week without the Internet to build out a new structure and plan for my posting and rebuilding the www.chrisjpowell.com website from scratch…but what about the rest of the people who are now 24/7 connected with all the information available to human kind, with the click of a mouse button or a swipe of a thumb on a Mobile Device…are we all going a little Data Crazy?

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I find myself daily scrolling through my Facebook Feed and reading nearly everything that I have a shared interest in with my friends, I do the same with my LinkedIn Contacts and for the most part from within Google+ too (especially being as my Google+ Circles are mostly Geeks like me).  I also subscribe to no less than 50 RSS Feeds, have 3 News Apps on my phone and tablet and then the ubiquitous Google Search for anything that I fancy at a moments notice.

You see, I have always had this insatiable taste for information.  At the age of 8 I would head off to the local library with my best friend and we would sit down and read 2 books and sign one out for the night and then return the next day and repeat.  I love consuming information.

Now though, my brain rarely turns off.  I get the notification of an email or updated post 100+ times per day.  There are featured posts that I just have to read and then there is the reading for pleasure that I do (usually about 1 hour per day).  I do all this while multitasking and at times have 3 or 4 screens going all at once and when Google came out with a Research Study on the Multi Screen World we live in…I was fascinated!

The reality is, it was a relief that I was not alone in this fabulous and scary addiction to information.

The average North American now consumes 34 GB of Information in the 16 hours not at work…this is incredible considering the average PDF or ePUB book weighs in 3 MB…this puts the amount of information consumed each day at the equivalent of 11,600 books of about 300 pages in length.  This Information comes in the form of Social Media Feeds, Text Messages, Web Pages, emails, Television and Movies…the balancing of the Multi Screen World is daunting and while this Overload has many negative effects…I for one…can not bring myself to unplug and relax.

A new “illness” has burst into the forefront.  Information Fatigue Syndrome (IFS) is not only very real…but for someone like me who does not handle Stress and Anxiety all too well, I am starting to think that some of my problems in life may be coming from this insatiable need to be connected with so many sources of information.

Dictionary.com definition of Information Fatigue Syndrome:

a weariness or overwhelming feeling of 

being faced with an indigestible or 

incomprehensible amount of information

Symptoms that you may be taking in too much information…well according to a link at the Texas A & M Library:

Common Information Overload symptoms include:

  • Loss of productive time
  • Reduced mental capacity
  • Disappearance of quality “thinking time”
  • Breakdown of organizational processes
    • Effective communication
    • Meeting effectiveness
    • Manager/subordinate interaction
    • Task and work planning
  • Reduced quality of life

Information Overload symptoms can also have effects on the body, David Shenk named this phenomena Information Fatigue.  Information Fatigue can cause:

  • Increased cardiovascular stress, due to a rise in blood pressure
  • Weakened vision
  • Confusion (see below) and frustration
  • Impaired judgment based upon overconfidence
  • Decreased benevolence to others due to an environmental input glut

My week without the Internet I think, is going to become a time for reflection.  For really looking into my priorities and assessing what I will be and will need to be able to keep moving forward.  Will Krispy’s Bytes be the same on June 7 as it is today…not likely.  Will the Krispy Persona still exist?  Most definitely…but instead of struggling for the quest for more information…I am going to apply filters to my life and take on a new Focus.

The 2nd half of 2014 is going to be about ME…and with a new life about to begin…it is about time after 42 years that the focus for me…is on ME!!!

Cheers,

Krispy

 

Posted on May 27, 2014 in Now for Something Personal, Risk Management, Social Media

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