What is Information overload :-
- In this modern era, we have so much information available that often we feel overwhelming to process the information. To define this situation, the term ‘information overload’ was coined.
Causes of Information Overload :-
- Until recently, most of the responsibility and the power of disseminating information was in the hands of traditional media, which means newspapers, books, radio etc. But with the proliferation of internet and technology, now we have so many channels of information such as blogs, social media etc.
- Hundreds of websites are created everyday with the purpose of spreading information and to attract readers, which is causing further information overload.
- More and more people are participating in creating the information knowingly or unknowingly. For example, even if a person is not willing to share information, he creates information by using internet and thereby giving companies information about his interests. Even if someone is not using internet, government gathers information of people to craft policies like welfare schemes etc.
- Before the information age, traditional media channels used to send only the most important information, because the resources and the ways of spreading information are limited. But now, there are no such limitations. That’s why now we have so much news. Every little thing is now a news. Even if watch news for 24 hours a day, there is something uncovered.
- New branches of studies are created regularly to study the subjects in a much better way. For example, sociology is a relatively new branch. Even historical data is being revived to study the patterns.
Effects of Information Overload :-
- Due to the availability of so much information, it is very much difficult to focus on what is really needed. For example, children tend to get lost in the information when all they wanted is help with their homework. Too much information is distracting.
- Some people will feel anxiety, confused and stressed because there is so much information and so little time. Often people feel that there is so much to learn and whatever they know is not enough and thereby tend to develop psychological problems.
- Attention spans are decreasing.
- It’s very difficult to make decisions because of the availability of so many choices. For example civil services aspirants have too many books and websites to choose. Thereby productivity decreases.
- As so much information is consumed on a daily basis, our retention abilities are decreasing. Our capacity to store information in the memory is limited, and hence it’s difficult to remember everything especially if so much information is consumed.
Way Forward :-
- We cannot say that information overload is bad, because availability of too much information is much better than lack of information.
- The better approach to deal with information overload is to understand it’s effects on our minds and to choose a few resources for the time being and not looking back at the decision helps in mitigating the psychological impacts of information overload.
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