Perils and Consequences of Information Overload and Drowning in a Sea of Information

What is Information Overload ?

We are drowning in a sea of information. We are inundated with news, views, opinions, facts, and information every time we log in to the internet or turn on the TV. This constant barrage of information thrown at us nonstop in a 24/7 cycle makes us weary and lost in this never-ending repetitive world. Therefore, it is very important for professionals, students, and anyone who wants to focus and concentrate to learn the art of separating the wheat from the chaff and to lead productive lives that are meaningful and deep.

For instance, knowing what is happening all over the world instantaneously and uninterruptedly would produce a fatigue in our minds and lead to exhaustion that can drain productivity and lead to loss of focus. One does not need to know all the news and happenings on Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, and on TV all the time.

Unless one learns the habit of separating what one wants from what is available, most likely one would end up with what has been called information overload that denotes the extraordinary amount of information that we are being bombarded with constantly.

The Consequences of Information Overload

Many companies have banned social media sites and even internet sites in an attempt to make the employees focus on the work. Despite these measures, many employees still find ways and means to get updated and to log in to other sites much like addicts who would do anything for a fix.

While we are not against getting facts and information from diverse sources in a bid to stay ahead of the curve, what we are advocating is the trend of being constantly on the move by surfing continuously which can have adverse side effects.

It must be remembered that this trend when it goes out of control is as bad as getting hooked on to psychotropic substances and much like that it can lead to shorter attention spans, need for instant gratification, and a general sense of being frazzled.

The truly productive employees are those who do not multitask nor spend endless hours watching the big game scores or news and event updates from around the world. Indeed, one of the reasons investment bankers and consultants are much sought after is that they have learnt to distinguish between short term and ephemeral trends and instead, detect longer-term trends and extrapolations from existing information that is meaningful and makes business sense.

Present Shock and Generation Y and their Impact on Society and Businesses

The present generation Y has grown up not knowing what it is like to live without the internet or the TV. This means that their attention to detail is as short as the cryptic SMS (Short Messaging Service) or the Tweet and therefore, many occupational and lifestyle experts are worried that this aspect would lead us to a situation where we lose sight of the longer and deeper narrative and instead, settle for the fleeting moment that leads us to a “Present Shock” where the immediacy is more important than the longer term and where the present overwhelms us leading to a general sense of disorientation. This is not the way businesses and institutions have been built in earlier decades and this constantly changing and ever flux-filled times are proving to be a challenge for marketers, policymakers, and business leaders.

Managing Information Overload

Apart from this the crux of the issue is that when we are inundated with information overload, there is a danger that we might lose the essential information and instead, pick up drivel and nonsense from the information sources which would lead to situations where businesses make the wrong decisions based on faulty information and wrong assumptions.

This is the danger that information overload poses to us and it is better sooner than later that we as individuals learn to “switch off” when needed and to master the art of managing too much information and develop the skill of finding the right data instead of paying attention to meaningless data.

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