Information Overload: Today’s Battle for Attention

With the internet presenting itself as an overwhelming powerful force in today’s society, it’s no wonder our lives are beginning to change in response. In the article “Overload!” by Bree Nordenson an interesting  fact is presented that “In 2006 alone, the world produced 161 exabytes of digital data, the equivalent of three million times the information contained in all the books ever written.” If you are unaware, an exabyte is one billion gigabytes. The amount of material available to us, and the ease at which such information can be acquired is astounding.

It would be easy to assume that the wealth of information available to us so easily would cause a positive correlation to the knowledge of the population affected. However, many scholars are surprisingly finding in studies that our population is no more educated on political and news matters than they were in the 40’s, when choices were severely limited.

There could be many explanations for why there has been no change in knowledge of news affairs. When talking with a group of people the first thing that was mentioned was the care for a topic can not be changed by a larger amount of information on the topic. I find this to be particularly relevant when it comes to certain news topics; however, I do not think this is solely responsible for the general lack of attention to news.

One of the biggest affects of the internet, and the vast amount of information available on the internet, I believe is the vast amount of information. The internet has become its own worst enemy. A typical consumer spends their time casually skimming from one piece of information to the next. Whether it be political affairs, celebrity gossip, a facebook status, or a tweet. Each piece of information is only being explored on a superficial level, and each piece of information is quickly left.

I believe that now more than ever is a time when our undivided attention is most prized, but this undivided attention will forever be ruined by the overwhelming amount of so-called important information.

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