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Please Stop Blaming Everything on Information Overload

by Craig Roth  |  May 25, 2010  |  Comments Off on Please Stop Blaming Everything on Information Overload

Has “overload” become the latest meme?  The “information overload” label can be slapped on anything related to too little time or too much to sort through. That’s a huge swath of problems and the term contributes neither explanatory power nor solutions. There’s a word for terms that are deeply layered with other meanings: “overloaded”. 

A co-worker passed along an article about Google’s App store that manages to twist even that unrelated event into an overload solution. Writes Thomas Claburn in the InformationWeek Google blog:

Expect to see more App Stores because aggregation is a necessary defense against information overload.

Couldn’t he come up with a more spurious meta-reason for launching an app store? Maybe the airing of the last episode of Lost has left people with more free time that needs to be filled with Android apps?

I try to assist organizations address attention management, and “information overload” abuse does not help. When it goes beyond awareness of an issue into easily debunked flag waving then reflexive eye-rolling kicks in and it becomes an uphill battle to reach jaded executives.

I’ve only addressed information overload here, but the “overload” label is also appended to data overload, traffic overload (=traffic), brain overload, fun overload, etc. I’ve had enough. Besides, my toddler is whining about something in the other room and I have to go. I suspect pants overload …

Category: attention-management  

Craig Roth
Research VP, Tech and Service Providers
7 years at Gartner
28 years IT industry

Craig Roth is a Research Vice President focused on cloud office suites, collaboration tools, content management, and how they are being impacted by digital workplace and digital business trends...Read Full Bio




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