The Internet is one of the greatest tools in history, and there is nothing that gives us greater access to information than the World Wide Web. At the click of the mouse or the press of a few keystrokes we are able to access anything we want from around the world. Information is at our fingertips in seconds, and the abundance of information that we can access at any time is truly amazing.
However, the downside to all this information is that information overload is often the result. With so much information flooding into our eyes and ears at all times, it can be next to impossible to keep up with the constant flow of information. Despite the fact that being able to access hundreds of thousands of links for any query that we might have, and despite the fact that most of the information is of excellent quality in completely relevant to our search query, it can often be difficult for us to determine which is the best source to use to obtain the desired information.
Information overload can actually lead to a number of serious problems, both organizational and personal. These problems include:
- Lack of Strategic Thinking
Those who are overloaded with information often fail to think strategically about the future, simply because they have no thought processes available beyond the immediate concerns. With so much information flooding into their consciousness, it can be hard to think ahead and plan for the future. Strategic planning is a vital part of every business, and the information overload problem facing many entrepreneurs is often the cause of the failure of their business ventures.
- Lack of Focus on Business Basics
When it comes to focusing on the basics of the business, it can often be hard to get back to the business basics amidst the bombardment of information that tries to entice business owners to, “try this new method of advertising,” or, “use this new marketing scheme to get your product noticed.” Before you know it, people end up overextending themselves or trying to reach too far to keep up with all the new information they are presented with. Staying simple is often the simplest key to business success, but keeping operations simple is far more difficult in this day and age.
- Health Problems
Being overloaded with information can lead to serious health problems. Information overload can lead to high blood pressure caused by stress, as well as weakened vision caused by spending too much time in front of a computer. Frustration is often a direct result of being overloaded with information that a person can do nothing about, and confusion is another side effect of information overload.
- Poor Decision Making
When a person feels that they have all the information they need on a subject, they tend to make rational decisions based on that information. However, with information overload the information often tends to get jumbled in people’s minds, and they make decisions based on the information they have stored inside their overloaded brain. This often leads to overconfidence in one’s knowledge, which in turn leads to poor or impaired judgment.
- Ignoring Information Context
Information that is presented in a particular context can be easy to understand, but information overload often causes us to view information without taking in the context. By skimming over an email or a news article and reading only snippets, we only obtain the information presented without actually understanding the context in which it is being presented. This means that the contextual meaning is often missed, which leads to misunderstandings and misdirection.
- Breakdown of Social and Team Skills
When information is easily available, there is no need to obtain the assistance of friends and coworkers. Thanks to the information age, there is no need to turn to Bob next door for help with the lawnmower or to Jim in accounting to help you understand a particularly complicated text. This lack of interdependency is often what leads to a breakdown of social skills, as there is no need to work alongside a neighbor to achieve a goal. A breakdown of team skills often results due to the lack of interdependency on each other as a team, and this usually leads to a breakdown in communication and, ultimately, company or organization as a whole.
- Busy but Ineffective Executives
There are thousands of executives who spend their entire day processing reports, information, paperwork, and other data. They are never able to get down to the brass tacks of their job, and the minutia of their day to day work actually overwhelms their schedules and leaves them no time to do the things that are truly important. Despite the fact that they are eternally occupied, they are rarely able to get down to doing the things that truly matter, the things that will keep their organization running effectively. This often results in a breakdown in an organization’s structure and leadership, and this is all due to information overload.
- Inaccurate and Unconfirmed Information
When information is obtained in large volumes, the person gathering the information feels confident that they have all the facts on the matter. The truth is that less than 50% of the information readily available on the Internet is actually quality information that can be verified. With thousands of websites presenting any information they so desire, there is no way to be completely certain that the information is confirmed and factual. Decisions made based on this inaccurate and unconfirmed information will often be erroneous, which can lead to further problems in the workplace thanks to information overload.
In order to provide the best service for web design in NJ, our company has to stay on top of the new and ever changing technology. We love what we do, and PlanMySite is not a regular 9 to 5 job for us, it’s more than that. We have found that being careful not to let information overload affect our productivity is the only way to survive in this competitive world. We have found that sometimes it’s worth to slow down, take time to read a book (yes, electronic version is ok), and not to worry about latest news. In the next couple of weeks, we will be writing more about information overload.