Wednesday, November 12, 2014

TMI (Too Much Information )

We live in a time when we can consume news and gather information as it is happening in real-time.  We get the details of a disaster from the news media (internet, television, and newspapers) almost immediately. In the case of some of the coverage of recent disasters, the information can sometimes be misleading or not accurate as the reporters sometimes run with any information that they receive without first vetting the source or the information.  On top of this there are several media outlets, journalists, and bloggers who share or publish their own opinions instead of providing only the facts and allowing the public to form their own opinion.
Information is also only a click away today - whether from our computer or smart phones. We get hundreds of results back that in itself can be overwhelming.  How do we choose which article, blog, or source to read? That is what I find to be the hardest part.
For me trying to decipher where to start and determining the difference between fact and fiction can lead to a state of feeling either very overwhelmed or to a state of confusion.  As you dig deeper into gathering more information one can get a sense of being overwhelmed.
Wikipedia states that "information overload" refers to the difficulty a person can have in understanding an issue and making decisions that can be caused by the presence of too much information [1]". 
In reviewing my searching habits, I have found that I tend to always go to the same sources, internet pages, blogs, that I believe provides me with the information that I need  to make a valid opinion or judgment about a particular subject - whether it be personal, business, political, etc. Sometimes this helps eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed but sometimes it adds to it especially for those issues that are social, political, or religious in nature.  It can lead you to feeling that you are losing control.
Living in an age of technology is great but I find that it leads me to a sense of losing  control - being pushed and pulled by it - rather than a sense of being in control of my thoughts and ideas. I have come to realize that I need to consciously consume information.  That is to figure out what I want to know or gain more knowledge of and be hardnosed about sticking to certain ideas or thoughts.[2]
What are your strategies in dealing with information overload?  How do you decide what to absorb or just skim through? And how do we make our blog one of those that is on your "go to" list?
As always we value your thoughts and opinions and would like to hear your ideas on this topic.
Robert L. Harris, Jr.
Senior Solutions Consultant

[1]  Yang, C.C.; Chen, Hsinchun; Honga, Kay (2003). "Visualization of large category map for Internet browsing". Decision Support Systems 35 (1): 89–102. doi:10.1016/S0167-9236(02)00101-X.