All You Need is Doug

Thoughts on PR, media, Michigan football & how to get the company named after me

Information Overload

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There was a study released a couple months ago that said Americans consume 34 gigabytes of information each day. File this in the Captain Obvious folder, but that’s a lot. The study includes everything from the Web to TV to radio. The reportalso says Americans consume 100,000 words per day on average (read, heard, etc.)

I’d say I’m probably way above the average in terms of information consumed. At work, I get probably at least 100 e-mails a day and I write and reads thousands of words in presentations, reports and creative briefs and all that good stuff.

Then, I get to the 183 feeds in my Google Reader, the  559 people I follow on Twitter, the Facebook feed, the episode of “The Wire” that I’m watching as I type this and the “Game Change” book about the 2008 election that I’m going to read before I go to sleep.

It can easily be overwhelming.  Let’s take one part of that – my blog reader. Here’s how I try to keep it under control:

  • RSS feeds – RSS isn’t anything new, but it makes my life so much easier. Everything gets sent right to me in one place and I can plow through hundreds of posts quickly. My approach is to skim the headlines as fast as I can … if it’s interesting, I’ll read it quickly or if it’s a longer piece, I’ll bookmark it for later. I don’t worry about not reading every word on my favorite site … just the stuff I care about. And yes, I fit exactly into the Snack Culture lifestyle – consuming everything in bite-size pieces.
  • Check information throughout the day – I’ll usually try to knock out some reading before work and during lunch to get a sense of the headlines of the day. Since I read a lot of blogs on the same topic, I’ll see the same stories over and over again during the day. I’ll know then what’s most important and pick one of them for a good analysis of the topic.
  • Find the experts – With so much information available, it’s up to me to figure out which sites are knowledgable and give the most value and those are the ones I read. If something’s worth knowing, I know it will appear on the top sites. Even though TMZ or Perez might be really popular – I don’t get much value from them so I skip right over them.
  • Make it fun – I don’t read all these just for work or because I feel I have to. I get a lot of enjoyment out of consuming information. For instance, today I learned that Martin Mayhew makes really good trades, that Tate Forcier gained six pounds and hopefully won’t get hurt all the time this year and that Digg is redesigning their site to tap into the social web. Basically, they’ll customize your experience and give you articles based on your interests and what’s being shared by people who have the same interests.

It will be interesting to see how Digg pulls that off. Ideally, I would love for my reader to figure out what I’m really interested in and skip over the other stuff.

Of course, I would probably feel like I was missing something.

Darn it, I guess information overload will just continue on. 🙂

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Written by dougwernert

March 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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