We live in a over-informed world. There has never been in history a period like this, where everybody can get and find information everywhere and anytime. Access to knowledge is easier, but this benefit can be a disadvantage if we don’t manage all the incredible amount of information we see everyday online.
We are literally bombarded by news, blog posts, tweets, social streams and updates. Every device we use is constantly broadcasting data and information. This is not only the age of fast-food, this is the age of fast-news. We devour news at the rhythm of a tap and a glance.
Here are some numbers, just to give you an idea of what is flooding DAILY on the web:
- 3 million blog posts
- 130 billion emails
- 550 million status are updated on social media
And counting.. since this is the situation in real-time while I am writing this post (you can see the real time counter here)
So, how do we manage this information overload?
Most of the time we just read the title of a blog post or just the heading. To be more precise, over the 80% of people do this. We don’t like to take more than 5 minutes to read an entire article because we want to see quickly another one, and then another one. With this habits we also start having less focus, not just in content consumption, but in every aspect of our life. From work to personal commitments.
The fast-news invaded our life and also Media changed in order to grab our attention. Titles became shorter and catchy to be more appealing (the 5 most.. the 3 best.. etc.)
Even the content is divided in shorter paragraphs to encourage readers to finish the article (as in this post).
When readers become distracted videos and pictures triumph. The success behind websites like BuzzFeed and Upworthy is based just on that.
Social media started serving us with fast and overwhelmed newsfeed. Facebook and Twitter are very good to collect news but moreover our attention. Instagram growth is also representative. We prefer videos and pictures because are easier for us to be consumed.
But how real is our attention?
This newsfeed “addiction” created the FoMO, Fear of missing out which is “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent” and “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing or what’s happening”
Fear of missing out (FoMO) refers to the apprehension that one is not in-the-know or one is out of touch with some social events, experiences, and interactions.
So FoMO is primary related to know what other people are doing but also to news and online media.
How to manage the online information overload?
One of the best thing to do is to setup daily routines for content consumption. For example, you can setup a timer during breakfasts or while you commute.
Secondly, you can use news aggregator such as Flipboard, Pocket or LinkedIn Pulse. These platforms will help you store the most relevant content you find around the web and read them when you have time.
Same thing for Facebook: if you find interesting articles in the newsfeed you can save it, just clicking on the button on the top right.
Also, you can use apps, as Coach.me, to remind you to be less distracted and focus on what really matter for you (Yes of course there’s an app also for that).
How do you control distraction?