Information Overload – No Longer an Old Man’s Game

For this younger generation, it seems their interest in news is seriously lacking. As consumerism continues to run teenagers’ lives, it seems they care less and less about what is going on outside their little worlds. Young people seem to have a fascination with documenting every moment of their lives on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and  Tumblr. They determine the importance of the information they consume based on how many people subscribe to, or follow it – basically how popular is it.

According to “Overload!” by Bree Nordenson, “There are more than 70 million blogs and 150 million websites today – a number that is expanding at the rate of approximately ten thousand an hour.” Young people have more opportunities that ever before to access information about the world around them, but I believe a small percentage actually take advantage of it. The Associated Press’s young adult research project believes “The abundance of news and ubiquity of choice do not necessarily translate into a better news environment for consumers… The more overwhelmed or unsatisfied they were, the less effort they were willing to put in.”  (Nordenson).

According to the 2006 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, “81 percent of young people engage in some form of media multitasking during a given week.” (Nordenson). Multitasking used to have positive connotations, but not today. So many things vie for our attention; it is hard to focus on things that are most important. For instance, in the hour I’ve spent writing this paper, I have checked my email twice, responded to 3 emails and picked up my phone multiple times to respond to texts. This article would have taken as little as 20-30 minutes had I given it 100% of my attention. When I realized what I was doing, I turned my phone on silent and shut down my email.

I love the quote by Jay Rosen, “There are some stories… where until I grasp the whole, I am unable to make sense of any part.” Perhaps in time, young people will begin to realize the importance of being diligent in “shutting down” media so they can turn their focus on things that truly matter.

This entry was posted in Science and Technology. Bookmark the permalink.