Published By: 1World Online
I remember back in the days (when the dinosaurs roamed) when most people would get their news sources from one newspaper or one of the three different, evening news channels – ABC, NBC and CBS. Back then what you heard the anchorman report on was all you were ever going to hear about that specific topic.
We accepted what the reporter told us as gospel and would never question it or throw it up for debate, and there was no such thing as information overload.
Today, things are much different.
Now, those who care to be kept better informed, have various outlets to go to for more in-depth information, viewpoints and research. From alternative news sites on cable TV, sites on the Internet and professional and personal blogs, social media has become a limitless source of information.
But is it too much? Are we getting overwhelmed with information overload?
Most psychologists and scientists believe that we are indeed supplied with too much information and at too rapid a rate.
The problem with being supplied with too much information at once, is that the human brain can only process so much data at one time. That doesn’t mean we’re stupid or slow, it just means that the pace data is reaching us is far too rapid than what is necessary.
Scientists agree that our brains can only process 7-chunks of information at once. Unfortunately, with the speed that digital data supplies, we can quickly be fed too much information than what our brains can mentally input at once.
For instance, when you type a search term into Google, you are immediately supplied with 15-pages or more of links to information. Which one do you choose? Which one is reliable? Is it frustrating to choose even one?
If you’ve ever had that feeling, then you are experiencing a classic case of information overload.
Reliable information today, sometimes gets corrupted by the mass amounts of material that is available on social media. One source says this; another source says that; opinions are all over the place, and new information is changing at a rapid pace.
And everyone is in a hurry to get their “Page One” ranking on Google Search.
It all results in us having to make harsh, and sometimes hasty decisions to what we believe or what we don’t believe. Not wanting to sort through it all, makes us become insensitive and causes us to tune-out to things that we would otherwise be concerned about.
Hoaxes, pranks, fake news stories, viral videos, and images that have been photoshopped test our vision and try to trick us into seeing how gullible we are.
Devious technology makes us believe that what we are seeing is real and that the catastrophes they are predicting will be upon us soon.
And then there are the kings and queens of social media themselves – social commentators and make-believe journalists.
The self-proclaimed experts in everything they are questioned about are running rampant on cable and network TV news shows like CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. They set up commentator panels daily that take delight in ripping apart and critiquing one person, various groups or whoever happens to walk past their crosshairs.
Daily, we are pounded with live, on-air trials where a mock group of prosecutors and lawyers present the TV audience with all the evidence that will not be used in a criminal trial until two-years later.
One has to start wondering why we still have court trials. Why not just have trials on live, TV as the evidence comes in daily and let the viewing public be the jury? They can cast their votes at a pre-arranged time and decide the defendant’s fate without having to go to court.
Makes sense, right? By the time, they get to court it is all old news anyhow.
Information overload is running rampant on the Internet today, in the news media and especially on social media.
If one wants to deal with it all, and keep their sanity, one needs to control how much material they are exposed to on a daily basis and what sources they go to for all their information.
It’s not rocket science; it’s called sanity control.
Keep your sanity intact. Stick to one news source that is reliable, unbiased, and throw the rest away.
Joseph E. Rathjen is a freelance writer and an Opinion Writer at 1World Online – The International Community’s Fastest Growing Social Research Engine.