Information overload 2.0

It's possible for problems to vanish. Everyone who has read Harry Potter books has an expectation that this will occur someday soon. Meanwhile, we're patiently allowing solutions to take time, money and energy, but we're also open to problems disappearing as if my magic.

I'll  initially delve into this possibility with the example of information overload. In this time of powerful search engines, RSS subscriptions and personal repositories of tagged links, we're drowning in a delightful abundance of selective information. We're long past getting overwhelmed by mass consumption of print and broadcast media. We out in the long tail of successfully finding the uniquely useful, particularly pleasing and personally significant content when we want it. Welcome to "information overload 2.0".

Our particular case of information overload might be a deep problem. It may appear that beyond this problem are only bigger problems. If we are arguing for our limitations when we try to solve our "information overload" issue, we're in deep trouble. We don't have enough time and solving this problem will take more time. Our brains are maxed out and this problem calls for added attention. The only way to reduce information overload appears to take things we have not got.

Information overload might be a manageable problem. It's possible we can do something about it, like get more organized, set new priorities, reduce our inputs, budget time more effectively or regularly take a break from the onslaught of information. We can setup a problem-solution mechanism. We input problems and we output solutions from our little factory. 

When we create a manageable problem, we get to deal with it relentlessly. The problem does not vanish. We 're dealing with the problem at the same level as the thinking that created it. Unbeknownst to us, our solution breeds the problem that needs our solution. We think we have a mechanism and we're really caught up in a vicious cycle. The more we manage our overload problem, the more we have the overload problem to manage.

Information overload might be a solution to a hidden problem. We might want the overload problem more than a deeper solution. We might use our case of information overload to appear busy, convince others that our expertise is reliable, develop greater self confidence or avoid appearing negligent. We may be getting the payoff and experiencing success. Our pilot may be complaining while our unconscious flight is on schedule for our ticketed destination. 

When we're aware of already solving a hidden problem, we can generate a more creative solution. If information overload is a workable solution, we can come up with an even better solution to our particular hidden problem. We may get more confidence other ways, create less need to appear busy, or establish our credibility by generating content. Then the information overload problem will then be occasional, insignificant and easily handled. We won't feel as desperate, driven or fearful.

Information overload might be a curse we're under. We might be able to vanish the apparent problem entirely by breaking the invisible curse with a magical spell. We can begin to live in a world of our choosing. We choose to experience freedom from our hidden problem. We can render "information overload 2.0" senseless. If we're already productive, reliable, confident, or responsible, there's no need to keep up with the bounty of content. If we're already handled, we won't feel obligated to seek out more information to get a handle on our situation. We cast a spell of being problem-free and so it comes about.


  1. Nice post Tom. Information overload is a solution to a hidden problem - we just didn't know how much we didn't know! Now we do.
    The cause of the "problem" (technology) will be the solution - when web 3.0 arrives:

  2. Thanks Alan. I agree with your concept of Web 3.0 delivering what we did not know we needed! I weighed in on the Web 3.0 forecasts last December with this: