It seems we have contradicted ourselves: we want to know everything, yet when “everything” is given to us we retreat in a state of information fatigue. When it comes to information and technology we have the mindset that more is better. Sheer numbers prove that Americans crave technology. “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 (Nordenson, 89).” Saying we are being buried alive in information is an understatement…yet we enjoy and participate actively in this information exchange.
So if we love information how are we contradicting ourselves? We indeed love information…easy to comprehend information that is. Northeastern University proved during the 2008 election that young adults “…wanted news organizations to display less content in order to highlight the essential information (Overload!, 92).” This is what David Levy would call “more-better-faster.” Productivity no longer coincides with quality it instead is measured by speed and volume.
So how do we alleviate this information overload? Many say it lies in the hands of the journalists. Delli Carpini makes the statement “the most valuable journalist is the kind that explains (Overload!, 93).” Using the 2008 election as an example, highlighting and explaining essential information prevents the audience from feeling overwhelmed or out of the loop. Making sense of the news is highly difficult for many as the information “goes over their head.” In a time where the general population relates to images versus print, sometimes just a picture of say, Hurricane Sandy, gets the point across just as strongly as a thirty minute news segment. If a picture is worth a thousand words then journalists jobs just got easier. Simplifying, condensing, and explaining in the simplest way possible may just revive classic journalism and move people from information seekers via Facebook and Twitter to information seekers via television and newspapers.