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Information Overload – Causes and Symptoms

communicationA Sunday edition of the Times carries more information than the average nineteenth century citizen accessed his entire life. Information used to be as precious as diamonds. And now? Well it’s so plentiful that most of it ends up being overlooked, ignored or thrown away like rubbish.

As of February 2007, there were over 108 million distinct websites and increasing, as of October 2008 there were 183 million (I couldn’t find any stats for 2009). That’s a lot of information and it’s growing daily. This doesn’t really include real time social media data like facebook and twitter as well.

When and how does it happen?
Information overload occurs when we receive more info than our brain can process. Even if it is good information, too much of a good thing just is not good anymore. Doesn’t matter if you’re an info addict, information overload affects us all.

So what’s the effect of info overload?
This amount of data so which we are open to carries a cost. It’s physical, mental and financial.

There are 3 ways in which people respond: They become overwhelmed and shut down, they labour over whether they’re making the right decisions or they just ignore you and move on.  Is that what your readers, visitors and potential customers are doing right now, moving on?

People aren’t looking for more (information). It’s relief or escape from all the pressure of more is what they’re looking for. Are you causing pressure or giving relief?

What are the overload symptoms?

Productivity Loss. People can easily get lost in the details. We waste time focusing on unimportant information and lose sight of the goal and purpose.

Mind Clutter. The noise created by media and other sources of information clutters our minds and takes away from our inner peace.

Lack of Time. We all have the same limited amount of time in a day. Instead of wasting time filtering through information, We’d rather spend the time on bringing more enjoyment and fulfilment into our life.

Lack of Personal Reflection. We find that if we are constantly consuming information, then we forget to connect with ourselves (and others).

Stress & Anxiety. Information inflow makes us feel like we have more tasks to fill our lives than we have time for. Often, we might suddenly feel nervous without understanding why. Every piece of information demands our time. Even if we ignore it, a part of us saw that data and recorded it within our subconscious.

Here’s the crux. Too much info will lose you customers and affect your profits, I can’t put it any clearer that that can I?

So how to make sure we don’t overload?
Well in the next blog post we’ll look at just that so make sure you come back to find out. Don’t miss out and subscribe to our blog RSS feed or twitter feed to get notifications of our new blog posts.

Your comments are really welcome, please leave them below.

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2 Responses to “Information Overload – Causes and Symptoms”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gary Dickenson, Gary Dickenson. Gary Dickenson said: New Blog: Information Overload – Causes and Symptoms [...]

  2. [...]       « Information Overload – Causes and SymptomsHow to Avoid Information Overload when CommunicatingIn our last article we looked at the causes and [...]

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