24 September 2009

Information overload

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Anna Wintour
Too many emails, texts and tweets can lead to rising anxiety, lower intelligence – and a generation of BlackBerry orphans. Paul Hemp reports in The Guardian.

“With the information floodgates open, content rushes at us in countless formats: text messages and tweets on our mobile phones. Facebook friend alerts and voicemail on our BlackBerrys. Instant messages and direct-marketing sales pitches (no longer limited by the cost of postage) on our desktop computers. Not to mention the ultimate killer app: email. (I, for one, have nearly expired during futile efforts to keep up with it.)

Meanwhile, we are drawn toward information that in the past didn’t exist or that we didn’t have access to but, now that it’s available, we dare not ignore. Online research reports and industry data. Blogs written by colleagues or by executives at rival companies. Wikis and discussion forums on topics we’re following. The corporate intranet. The latest banal musings of friends in our social networks.

Researchers now say that the stress of not being able to process information as fast as it arrives – combined with the personal and social expectation that, say, you will answer every email – can deplete and demoralise you.”

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