Too Much Information, Too Little Time

Information Overload
Information Overload

You know I got dragged to the blogging world kicking and screaming…I was doing radio news in the days when I had the UPI and AP teletype machines clacking by my ears and I still have boxes that say teletype ribbon.. (you don’t know what a teletype ribbon is….?)

Anyway I digress… I was one of those PR people who said, give me a story in a daily newspaper that reaches half a million and I’m happy.   But this blogging world is pretty cool and allows me to – heaven forbid… be my own publisher.

So on Information Overload…just like many of you, I start my morning coffee at home before 7, checking work email, personal email, Facebook updates, text messages, Twitter and typing my son’s daily chore list  before I head to work.

So forgive me that I didn’t have time to check the (hardcopy, printers ink on your fingers version) Columbus Day Wall Street Journal ‘til noon when I read the cover story of the Technology Section on Why Email No Longer Rules.. and what that means for the way we communicate

In the lead story Jessica Vascellaro writes about a shift from e-mail to social media and about how it is contributing to information overload.

She says that email is so old world and “Twitter, Facebook and countless others” are more today, always on.

I can buy that…you can get instant response from IM, you can find out if someone is even logged on or left a status update, you can share so many more experiences through photos and Youtube.

What does amaze me… the growth.  She quotes a Nielsen number that says in August 2009, 277 million people used email, up 21% year over year, but social networking users had climbed 31% to 301 million users.

And because the old ways don’t go away…she leads right into the thoughts that float on this site…too much information.

With so much more information coming at you, how do you determine what is important?

I have seen first hand some of the Xerox research projects (on a trip to Grenoble, France, but that is another story) on how we will be able to sort, prioritize and do more with this stream of information.  Jessica mentions filtering programs, some even available on Twitter today.

But I love her closing comment…”you can argue that because we have more ways to send more messages, we spend more time doing it.”


– Bill McKee @xeroxprguy

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  1. Deepak Seth October 19, 2009 - Reply

    Looks like Parkinson’s Law : “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. ” and it’s corollary “The demand upon a resource tends to expand to match the supply of the resource. ” is being proven right yet again.

    Since we now have a proliferation of socail networking tools it is not surprising “we are spending more time” using them.

    Is it good? Is it bad? The jury is still out on that.

  2. Shakun October 22, 2009 - Reply

    We should discount for population. In ancient world fewer people could look into vast information of stars and constellations on one hand and into the psysche and behaviour of living beings on the other.

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