Do you have Information Overload? – What is it and What We Do With it

information overloadThe term entered the public attention relatively recent even though it is not a new thing and there have been concerns about it as early as the first printed books. However even though this issue seems to become bigger and bigger, not everybody knows what it means and what we do with it. The term appeared as a result of the increasing amount of information regarding a certain topic as well as the quantity of data one needs to research in order to make an informed decision. There are several reasons why today one can talk about Information Overload and Knowledge Management.

The main reasons comprise of the large quantity of new information that is being created, the development of different mixed media of transmitting the information, and the inconsistency in the existing data. Every day new data is being added to the already existing information. Some of this information can go as far as hundreds of years back in the history. The apparition of the Internet, the email, the telephone or the instant messaging along with the already old television, radio, and the printed books, magazines, newspapers increase the already existing Information Overload. Ever since the Internet became as easy to access and to navigate as reading a book for example, the email seems to be the number one producer of overload data. Simply the junk mail one gets in his or her email or even regular mail is a data overload that might not always be desired or even helpful.

Since everything is labeled and computerized and put in a database that can be researched fairly easy one might thing that all this excess data has nothing to do with him or her and in case one needs to research a topic the answers will reveal themselves through a search. However this is not entirely true. The simple search of a phrase in a search engine on the internet can bring back in just a few seconds hundreds of thousands of pages written in different languages. So now one has a lot of pages where he or she can research the desired data. The problem appears from this moment. Because of the overload the information repeats itself or it is not always complete or even worse the data is different from site to site.

The viable solution of fighting against the Information Overload seems to be the Knowledge Management. The Knowledge Management proposes as solutions to this problem better search engines with more developed searches, better firewalls to filter the spam and junk mail, and better protection of personal information like the email address and the mailing address. At the individual level unsubscribing form lists you don’t want or need anymore seems to be helpful. Also one needs to take a decision about the kind of information he or she wants or needs to know. The first steps one can take to fight against data overload is choosing quality of information over quantity, being direct when talking or writing to others and last but not least focusing on one thing at a time as well as avoiding being interrupted from your work or research very often.

About the Author:
Everyone wants to know as much as possible but realizes it is not physically possible. Knowing how to avoid Information Overload and how to use Knowledge Management to your advantage is something one should learn along with the use of new technology and the new available gadgets.

  • I’m suffering from information overload right now! I have to write a final term paper on network security… so much information I don’t know what to do with. AGggggg

  • I think this post makes a really good point. In law school I’ve been researching information overload of juries sitting for death penalty cases. Most people are surprised to learn that trial records for those cases can sometimes exceed 100,000 pages. Then we expect twelve regular human beings to sort through all of that and determine and outcome. Needless to say, information overload can be a very scary thing in a life/death situation like that.

  • Me too, Im having an overload as well… Got 3 simultaneos freelance jobs and managing it requires me to study up on XML, Orkut, Google gadgets API, Opensocial, and tons of Javascript cods… Aaaaarrrrrrrg

    Anyway, thanks for the tips :)

  • I think information is overload is not a problem. The problem is how to manage it. Because unmanage information leads to information garbage.