From the Blog of Tom Davenport:
I gave a presentation this week on decision-making, and someone in the audience asked me if I thought information overload was an impediment to effective decision-making. “Information overload…yes, I remember that concept. But no one cares about it anymore,” I replied. In fact, nobody ever did.
But why not? We’ve been reading articles in the press about information overload being the bane of productivity for almost twenty years. (Here’s a link to a fairly recent article in Harvard Business Review on the topic called “Death by Information Overload” and a related blog.) And there is no doubt that the information load has only increased — day after day, year after year. Spam filters have helped a bit, but we all still get a lot of stuff we don’t want. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, text messages, email ads — everything we do only adds to the pile.
So if information overload is such a problem, why don’t we do something about it? We could if we wanted to. How many of us bother to tune our spam filters? How many of us turn off the little evanescent window in Outlook that tells us we have a new email? Who signs off of social media because there’s just too much junk? Who turns off their BlackBerry or iPhone in meetings to ensure no distractions? Nobody, that’s who — or very few souls anyway.