Information Overload: A New Challenge for a Modern Man to Tackle

Information Overload

We are vessels of very limited content. Not all men can read all books; it is only in a chosen few that any man can find his appointed food. R.L Stevenson

Technological advancement has sharpened the potential of modern and has also beautified his world with unique, awe-inspiring and novel gadgets like mobile phone, computer and other smart paraphernalia of advanced nature.

Modern man has become a kind of post-human with lot of capabilities due to the technological tools available to him. But this technological advancement has some flipsides attached to it as well. Keeping pace with the ever increasing and fast technological advancement is to the greater extent problematic and a vexing issue for all of us.  This statement may seem preposterous to some readers. But it holds much water and is based on logical analysis of the situations in which modern man is stuck due to fast changing world.

The most challenging and cumbersome thing for a modern man to tackle is information overload or what Alvin Toffler in his book “Future Shock” calls ‘Infobesity’. It is a neologism. A portmanteau word blending ‘information’ and ‘obesity’, hence infobesity. Obesity as we know, is the result of over-eating, likewise ‘Infobesity’ is because of the availability of ‘Too Much Information’ (TMI) on a single concept, idea, and issue. According to Paul Rogers and et al Like conventional obesity, infobesity has many sources. The never-ending stream of emails and voicemails. The PowerPoint presentations that dominate so many meetings. The endless reports from finance, marketing, cross-functional teams and external researchers. Useful information creates opportunity and makes for better decisions. But the torrent that flows through most organizations today acts like so much bad cholesterol, clogging their arteries and slowing their reactions.

The (TMI) on any concept etc. is quite baffling in particular for people who are in academics and pursuing research in any specific area. Availability of (TMI) on a certain topic addles the mind of a researcher and thereby creates a problem for him/her while filtering authentic from bogus and fabricated. In research, availability of less information or literature on any specific area of research may seem problematic and hectic for a researcher, but it is the other way round. In research, I think less is more. A statement like this sounds paradoxical. But it is pregnant with logical sense and meaning. And researchers in academia will definitely concur and not contradict with me.

When a modern man tries to google any concept, idea or issue. The google makes available the flood of information. Coping with this flood of information makes this modern man indecisive and thereby lands him into the problem. Mind of the modern man obfuscates and becomes the victim of indecisiveness. The information one comes across through emails, social media and through other means is also very difficult for a modern man to handle. This flood of information available to modern man has made him a kind of machine. He puts everything into his mind but in process of retaining the authentic information and stamping out the bogus, modern man fails. (TMI) creates a problem. It cripples the mind of a person in deciding which information one needs and which not. Availability of (TMI) may seem a blessing for some but generally, handling the torrential load of information is a Herculean task to accomplish because we are the vessels of very limited content.  Always remember, less is more in most of the situations. Thereby hangs a tale!!

Post Script: Information overload will lead to ‘future shock syndrome’ as an individual will suffer severe physical and mental disturbances. Alvin Toffler

Bilal Ahmad Dar is a Doctoral Candidate at the Department of English, AMU. He has qualified UGC-NET and JKSET for Assistant Professorship in English.


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