In 1970 Alvin Toffler described information overload as infobesity. The word refers to, “the difficulty a person can have understanding an issue and making decisions that can be caused by the presence of too much information.”
And that was decades before the Internet, email, blogs (like this one) and social media. Trying to keep up with the torrent of bits is like drinking from a fire hydrant. According to Social Media Today:
The average daily information dumped on a social network user is 54,000 words, equivalent to the length of the average novel. That textual content is only 63 percent of the information dumped on every social network user.
There are several things we can do to avoid the ill effects of infobesity:
Turn down the volume of social media. Way down. Be selective.
Distinguish among information, knowledge and wisdom. Information is like junk food; wisdom is whole food. Eat a healthy diet.
Read books instead of magazines and newspapers. Nassim Nicholas Taleb suggests, “To be completely cured of newspapers, spend a year reading the previous week’s newspapers.”
One way to read more books is to use our ears. Listen to books instead of music while waiting for the doctor, driving, working out, doing chores, etc.
Learn how the Internet is rewiring the human brain. Read Nicholas Carr’s book, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.
“When information is cheap,
attention is expensive.”