What is Information Overload?

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What is Information Overload?

Post by ravenpaige on Sat Sep 24, 2011 7:07 am

Information Overload

Information overload (aka information flood) … refers to the state of having too much information to make a decision or remain informed about a topic. Large amounts of historical information to dig through, a high rate of new information being added, contradictions in available information, and a low signal-to-noise ratio make it difficult to identify what information is relevant to the decision. The lack of a method for comparing and processing different kinds of information can also contribute to this effect.

An article in the New Scientist claimed that exposing individuals to an information overloaded environment resulted in lower IQ scores than exposing individuals to marijuana, although these results are contested. The same article also notes that a night without sleep can be as debilitating as over-exposure to information. The term was coined in 1970 by Alvin Toffler in his book Future Shock.[1]

* Too much information to make a decision or remain informed about a topic.
* Large amounts of historical information to dig through.
* A high rate of new information being added.
* Contradictions in available information.
* Low signal-to-noise ratio.
* Lack of a method for comparing and processing different kinds of information.

These are the problems of the Information Age. When speaking in terms of the 9/11 Truth Movement, these problems are especially pronounced, considering the sheer amount of disinformation that is distributed by both mainstream and alternative sources.

Following the analogy of the jigsaw puzzle, we are trying to solve a million-piece puzzle, but all of these pieces are not readily available. We have to find all of those million pieces first, but there are one billion puzzle pieces out there.

Anyone who wants to understand what's really going on in the world must invest an inordinate amount of effort in order to construct the big picture. However, the average individual does not have the time, energy, or ability to invest such effort. Even if that individual did, the next course of action upon understanding the big picture - or at least one small portion of it - is to share that information with others.



How to Counter Information Overload

1. Establish a Method for Comparing and Processing Information

* D. B. McCowan offers instruction on methods of Information Processing.
* In addition, instruction in logical fallacies and rhetoric is essential. California State University offers instruction on Logical Fallacies and the Art of Debate. The Secular Web’s Logic Page offers a more exhaustive list of Logical Fallacies.
* Much of our information processing skills are learned over a lifetime, usually via primary, secondary, and higher education. However, these skills can always be sharpened.
* As an aside, read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle to see an expert logician in action.

2. Collect Information.

* Take stock of all the different sources of information and media in the world.
* Read, read, read, and learn, learn, learn.
* Always seek out different perspectives.
* Make no assumptions, take nothing for granted, trust no one, and only act on what you can prove definitively.

3. Prioritize

* There are only 24 hours in the day; most of those are spent surviving and maintaining one's balance, leaving precious little time to read and learn.
* Understand how sources such as the Mainstream Media, Alternative Media, the Blogosphere, the Internet, Word of Mouth, etc., influence and relate to the people who receive information. See also: Meme Theory, The Real Meme by Broward Horne, and The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
* Understand the state of the world, and what news and information is important.
o Catch 22: One must read news and information on a constant basis in order to understand what is more important.
o Solution: Dive right in and read, read, read; and learn, learn, learn.

4. Process, Analyze, and Record

* Source Checking will give you vital information about the credibility of any given source.
o Check the background and bias of the author
o Check the ownership of the media source
o Check the referenced sources within said source for accuracy, repeating steps 1 and 2.
o NOTE: This may lead one on an endless chain of source checking. Keep your priorities in mind, and think about making notes for later research.
* Analyze the information in the given source, making note of objectively verifiable facts, logical fallacies, contradictions, and omissions.
* Compare the information according to what you already know.
* Record the item that you have just processed and analyzed in order to keep it on hand for further review.
* Make note of what you have analyzed, in order to avoid going in circles in your research.

5. Network

* There are other researchers in the world. Share your research with others in order to see a topic or issue from a different perspective, or to learn about topics or issues that you would not have been aware of in the first place.
* Venues of networking include:
o IRC Channels
o Internet Forum Communities
o Newsgroups
o Word of Mouth

6. Write

* Set up a blog or go to a forum/newsgroup, and start writing essays about your research. The best way to learn is to teach.
* For the purpose of this instruction, follow the guidelines of the APA Formatting and Style Guide when writing an article that draws upon other sources.

7. Organize

* Organize communities of individuals committed to the processing and dissemination of high volumes of information.
o (Good) Examples: Cassiopaea Forum, Conspiracy Central

8. Distribute and Publish

* The Mainstream Media has the upper hand in terms of information dissemination. However, a well organized grassroots effort can have an impact significant enough to change the course of world events.
* Seek out and exploit all forms of media and information dissemination:
o Internet
+ Blogosphere (Examples: Wordpress, Technorati)
+ Forums
+ IRC Channels
+ Multimedia Archives/BitTorrent Trackers
+ Newsgroups
+ Social Networking (Example: MySpace Bulletins, Blogs)
o Radio
+ Broadcast
+ Webcast
+ Podcast
+ Guest Interviews
+ Call-ins (See How Get On National Talk Shows by Mark Dice)
o Video
+ Documentaries
+ Shorts
+ Music Videos
o Activism
+ Protests, Rallies, Marches
+ Phone & Email Campaigns
+ Media Handouts (Pamphlets, Documentaries, CD’s, DVD’s)


Conclusion

To quote an old proverb, "Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime." For one who wants to counteract the problem of Information Overload, the end result of one's efforts should be aimed towards aiding as many individuals as possible in seeing the big picture objectively, in all of its minute detail, as well as igniting the spark of intellectual curiosity and critical thinking that is necessary in order to motivate one to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes; to understand objectively what this thing called reality is really all about.

FOOTNOTES

1) Anonymous (June 10, 2007) Information Overload. Retrieved June 17, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_overload.


Last edited by Fighter From a Distance on Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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