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You’re Just Being Interesting With Your “Information Overload”

Twitter’s Ev thinks Twitter can help you overcome Information Overload.

That’s Sillicon Valley thinking. Information "overload" is a Sillicon Valley type of problem. Such problems are mostly a matter of choice, exist in a very small sub-culture — and have virtually no baring on the real lives of normal people.

Normal Information Consumption Enjoyment

My daughter reading a book

The vast majority of people out there are living quite regular lives. They have a small group of friends and family, some co-workers. Their private email is pleasant with photos from kids attached, some forwarded jokes. Their work email is boring. Often they’re included in emails for God knows what reason. Of course most people don’t have work email…

At no point is the richness in choice between news programs, television show, or available magazines experienced as some kind of "problem".

True, it is bugging at times when two shows and a great movie collide in the TV schedule or when you have to choose which magazine to buy because you should only reasonably spend money on one, but this isn’t the end of the world. It’s not something you’re going to discuss with John when you meet him at the grocery store.

But YOU…

But that’s "them".

You; your life is much more complicated, sophisticated, and you — you have information overload.

Right. Now let’s be honest with each other for a moment there and see what you’ve got, OK?

You’re being all busy and important with 387 RSS feeds, 2871 Twitter followers, and 819 Facebook friends.

You have a ton load of links you follow because the title captures your "oh look, a shiny object!" fascination.

Your private email is pleasant although you might have less of it than "regular people" because people who complain about information "overload" live very special kinds of little lives where everybody is wayyyy above the "FWD: FWD: FWD: Kitten Photos tooooooo cute!!!" emails people normally sent to be pleasant amongst each other.

Your work email is boring. You have it but it’s mainly so your boss and co-workers can send you things to do or ask you questions.

What Information Overload Really Is

Information overload is when you have so much freaking relevant data you can’t ignore that your head can’t hold it all at once.

It’s when the amount of data coming in is larger than the capacity of the systems that process it.

It’s SETI. Not you.

Get real.

4 Responses to “You’re Just Being Interesting With Your “Information Overload””

  1. Loc Says:

    Ruud – been doing research for the past couple hours on GTD and info management. Stumbled across your blog via your GTD+Evernote discussions elsewhere (and here). Love this perspective on “information overload” – especially after spending hours on figuring out how people deal w/ the “problem.” Haha. A little change in perspective always helps. Thanks!

  2. Ruud Says:

    Glad you like it, Loc!

  3. Hervé Cassagne Says:

    Dear Ruud, what should I add to Loc’s post ? We followed almost the same path (I’m coming through Bridging The Nerd Gap, with Evernote-GTD interest). I love your irony on this matter. It reminds me of David Allen on information overload: *If it was really a problem, your head would explode when you enter a library* !

    Best from Lyon, France
    Hervé

  4. Ruud Hein Says:

    I love that quote :) I used it in surfing vs. information overload, too.

    Thanks for the comment, Herve!

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