Information Overload

“Today, ideas and discussions are broadcast not at a prescribed time on a specific channel via a single medium, but all the time, on millions of forums, discussion groups, blogs and social networks. And they occupy a growing piece of our consciousness, thanks to RSS feeds, Twitter messages, mailing list and newsletter subscriptions, instant messaging, e-mail and Web surfing. ”  Information Overload: Is it Time for a Data Diet? Computer World August 25, 2008

As a recent college graduate with a PR degree and some savvy experience in the Music Industry under my belt, I strive to stay informed of what’s taking place in my fields of interest, and in the world around me.

Like most, I have a daily routine in which I gather this information:

  • Wake up and eat breakfast while watching NBC’s The Today Show
  • Check Gmail if time permits before heading to work
  • During the dive to work, listen to morning radio shows (local news, celbrity gossip, random info)
  • Check work e-mail via Outlook (read daily e-mail about company news)
  • Log on to AIM (used for office communication)
  • Check Gmail
  • Read The New York Times (digital edition)
  • Check Google Reader
  • Check Twitter
  • Scan (a perk of being in the entertainment industry, fun reads!)
  • Scan (again, a perk!)
  • Scan

Aside from those constants, there are unplanned distarctions which pervade my daily life. Gchats, IM’s (not work related), Text Messages, Facebook, MySpace and the general plethora of information that is sitting in cyber space, waiting to be found. While checking Twitter or my Google Reader, I am constantly drawn to outside pages via links on the Tweets or Blogs that I am reading. This is obviously the purpose, but my biggest problem is not managing my time as I do this.

In her Computer World article, Mary Brandel provides some insight into navigating and cutting down on our information intake. Her article includes info on how to use technology to cut down and also some tips on how to instill tried-and-true personal self-discipline when eliminating your excess information-intake.

In my current position, I am not always busy with work, so I find myself meandering along in the world of cyber space. When I do have a particular task that I hope to accomplish, like this blog entry for example, I find myself distracted with outside information (as I type this blog, I am browsing a Facebook page, just checked an e-mail, and I’m engaging in a Gchat converstaion).

One of the helpful hits mentioned in the article suggested only checking certain things at certain times.
So, I’ll check Perez and Gawker during my lunch break and at the end of the day when things start to wind down, but not every hour.

Do you suffer from Information Overload? What strategies do you use to manage it?


2 thoughts on “Information Overload”

  1. I’ve done so much research on RSS and how it’s supposed to save us from info overload, esp. from e-mail. but I find myself setting them up and not using them. I like seeing the pictures and editorial lay-out of my favorite sites that I check. Hmmmm

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