Two Ways to Control Information Overload

There is a lot of talk these days (like in this USA Today article) about the overload of information, and there are even more people who say that the Internet in general, and social media in particular, is full of lousy, meaningless content. One commenter to the USA Today article, for example, wrote that “Its not information overload, its BS junk overload.” This cannot possibly be a valid judgement, for two reasons:

  1. In 2010 there were approximately 152 millions blogs on the Internet, and 25 billion tweets sent — more than this commenter could possibly read in a lifetime. They can’t know that everything on the Internet is BS any more than they can know that all face-to-face conversations are worthwhile
  2. Many, many, many people who use the Internet and social media find very high quality, non-BS content and engage in deep, substantive conversations there

So if a person is finding too much information, and too much lousy information on the Internet, the problem is probably not the Internet or the people producing content there, but rather it is a problem with that person’s ability to find good information (what we tend to call information fluency), and to connect with interesting people (what we call interaction fluency).

I’d like to suggest some solutions, then, to the problem of information overload, and especially to the aforementioned “BS junk overload.” These suggestions are backed up by some solid wisdom:

Don’t read everything. Choose good stuff to read, and don’t worry about the rest.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
– Viktor Frankl

Just like in real life, if all you hear from your Facebook feed or RSS feed is gossip, silliness and BS, you may want to start connecting with different people.
“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed. Proverbs” – 13:20

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