What is the Long-Term Effect of Too Much Information?
Right now, what’re you doing? Reading this post, of course. But what is reading really? Let’s agree to define it as the interpretation of information transmitted by me — the writer — to this screen by way of symbols that, when combined in certain mutually agreed upon ways, represent that information. This is me sending a message to you. This is you consuming information. But what if we flip our relationship with information? Look at it from a different perspective.
What if the information is doing the consuming, and our attention that’s being consumed?
Immediately, we see a problem. Attention is a finite resource, and the internet is getting ridiculously good at catching it. Ever binge watched a show on Netflix? Spent hours online shopping? Read blog post after blog post until realizing that you’ve wasted your day? Zone into a slew of mind-numbing YouTube videos until your eyes hurt from staring at the screen? Economically, an information rich society begets an attention poor society. Supply and demand. This is not a new concept, but it is what makes a social medi presence so important. Because we are constantly being inundated with information, the ability to stand out is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses. This effect is compounded by technology that allows the targeting and categorization of consumers based on valuable metrics such as internet searches, buying habits, websites visited, and more. Marketers are targeting you, your neighbors, your children, and soon maybe even your cat.
This is the first time in history that’s ever happened at this speed and scale…
We are literally just beginning to see the societal effects of this bombardment of information, and the only people who avoid most of its effects are those who choose to unplug from the Matrix. Pretty much just these guys. Mind not blown yet?
Here’s a little history:
1990 — Tim Berners-Lee Invents the World Wide Web
1995–2000 — Businesses see massive growth on the internet
2000 — The Dot-Com Bubble Pops. Internet business owners freak out.
2003 — Social Media becomes a thing. Now everyone can share what they find important.
2005–2011 — Google personalizes search and gives marketers access to analytics. Internet usage surpasses previously dominant television usage.
2012 — Social media and blogs become heavy hitters in marketing strategies.
2014 —Kim K breaks the internet.
2016 — The internet has a campaign-long field day with the presidential elections.
2017 and beyond — What is the long-term effect of too much information?
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