TMI: Too Much Information


Decades ago (2 or 3 decades to be exact) we couldn't get enough information. When the Encyclopedia Britannica person came to our door we couldn't wait to buy the $1000+ set of soon to be outdated books.

The world has changed. I remember over a year ago when I turned a fellow instructor at BCIT onto Twitter. He was super excited to start. He couldn't get enough. When he didn't have time to read stories he would 'favourite' them on his Twitter app. One day he turned to me in passing and said, "Hey, Kemp when do I read all these great stories I found on Twitter?"
"Uh-oh" I thought. How do I break it to him? How do I help someone who was desperate for more information in the before (the 1980s) understand what the reality of too much information means in the 21st century. I decided to put it to him straight...

"It's time to give up," I said.

It was true. He had to change the way he thought about information. We all do in a world where we can search for the latest links on education in an instant. I had thought him how to tap into the latest news on social media, technology and digital media, but was it for the better? Or for the worse? He now had access to more information than ever before but he had to sift through it. He had to evaluate it and he had to decide if it was worth his time to read.

The reality like my current favourite read: "The Shallows" states quite clearly is that our brains are going through a transitional phase. We are building new pathways to move from spending tons of time in the stacks finding relevant information in books. To moving through the digital stacks learning how to find, filter and evaluate information. This is our future or the future of our media consumption. 

More than a year ago when I was employed part-time or a student I had time to do these three vital tasks: find, filter and evaluate. Now that time no longer exists. I rely on Techmeme, SmartBrief, Summify and others to do those tasks for me. Lucklily for me they do a damn good job. 

What will the future hold? As many have said the ability to curate and filter the best content will remain vital for people like me. But who will do the best job and as a recent article in Wired stated can a computer do it for me based on my previous posts to social networks like Twitter and Facebook? I sure hope so because I don't have the time, but I need someone to do the job. If you have anything to add I am dying to hear it so don't hesitate to tell me how you deal in the age of Too Much Information.


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