Information Overload: The bane of the modern world

  10-Aug-2020 10:00:45

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Have you ever felt overwhelmed by too much information surrounding you? The flood of information ranging from texts, tweets, snackable videos, push up messages, etc. can be profuse.

If you feel you are the only one feeling this, then you are wrong.

‘Information Overload’ is a real thing. Today, everything is just at a distance of a click. We are constantly bombarded with information that is too hard for our brains to process at times.

The term “information overload” was coined by Bertram Gross, the Professor of Political Science at Hunter College, in his 1964 work – The Managing of Organizations. However, it was popularized by Alvin Toffler, the American writer, and futurist, in his book “Future Shock” in 1970. Information overload has been a problem throughout history, particularly during the Renaissance and Industrial Revolution periods. This has increasingly become a problem as more and more people get access to low-cost devices and cheaper internet, especially in developing countries. The number of mobile internet devices having internet connection stood at 390 million in 2018 and the no. is only growing.

There is no dearth of content around us. Every minute thousand of videos are posted, articles are published, tweets are tweeted and a human being has a limited capacity to go through everything and it is not solely ourselves to blame for it the applications and software are designed in such a way that it pushes us furthermore to watch and skim through all of it.

As a result, our attention spans are decreasing and well we don’t have good listeners anymore. Do we?

The human brain is always seeking new experiences. When we have an abundance of these experiences, the brain goes into a frenzy as it tries to make sense of all the information that is provided to it. In the process, it tries to find more new information. The result of this is an increase in cortisol levels that has ill-effects such as loss of memory and a state of confusion and restlessness.

In many cases, information overload has led to anxiety issues and can harm our self-esteem, why self-esteem you ask, the most prevalent answer is because of ‘social media’. It’s bound to leave you feeling a little ‘less than’.

A UK-based report by Microsoft found that 55 percent of British workers felt that information overload was an issue. They reported feeling stressed and felt it was affecting their wellbeing.

Has it ever happened to you that you just opened up your mobile phone to check an email and instead went on Instagram to watch cute cat videos? Only to realize that you already wasted your 45 minutes. This is an impact of information overload at an elementary level.

Here are some basic tips to handle information overload:

  1. Monitor your screen time
  2. Stay away from email distractions
  3. It’s okay to turn off the notifications at times
  4. Sit back and read a book in your free time
  5. Have real conversations with real people
  6. And most importantly to know that it’s okay to not go through every single piece of information

People all around the world are realizing information overload as a threat and indulging themselves in programs that help them to get rid of it. It’s important to understand that our brains have certain limitations, we cannot always let information flow in, of course, it's very hard to avoid it in this digital era but we can always put boundaries on the usage of data so that it does not become ‘overloaded’ and starts affecting our mental health.

-By: Priya Baldwa

Modified by: Team NewsExplain