(Way) too much information (Part 1)

I am close to exhaustion. The noise in my head is getting louder and louder and it’s beginning to sound like there’s a train coming.

Since starting this course, the monumental spike in the quantity, quality and variety of material I need to read has consumed me.

It’s not just the required weekly reading for the course. It’s the twenty-odd weekly blogs from my classmates that I must read and comment on. (Now there’s a challenge. Learning to ‘externalise’, not ‘internalise’ my thoughts and reactions to your blogs!) And then reading the comments on the comments, and the reply to the comments on the comments, and so on. And then following those links and tips that you, dear fellow blogger, point me to. It’s an everlasting meander and I often find myself still sitting at the computer at 12 o’clock at night.

Local community is important to me, so I read the local newspaper. Pity there are THREE in this LGA. I read The Age Monday to Sunday and Herald Sun and Financial Review on an ‘as-needs’ basis. I also flick to the online newspapers every day and when required.

And then I have four personal email accounts and four work email accounts to manage.

Every hour on the hour I receive media monitoring emails that let me know what the three AM radio stations plan to discuss and what they actually did discuss, what the four major TV networks news channels are saying in the morning, afternoon and evening. I get Google alerts on four different subjects, I scan daily email summaries on women’s health issues, cancer-related issues and general health related issues.

And let’s not forget all those interesting blogs and random websites bookmarked in my favourites that beckon unsuccessfully for my attention.

About an hour and a half  of my (daily) life is spent commuting from the west to the City and back – five days a week. In the morning when my mind is fresh I open my uni reading. In the evening when I am a slug I read the Mx, along with every other commuter in Melbourne (Don’t you think there’s something really sinister about us all reading THE SAME THING AT THE SAME TIME?) In bed I read a book, aka novel (Macq: n. a fictitious prose narrative of considerable length, usually having a plot that is developed by the actions, thoughts, speech, etc., of the characters.)

All of this reading is now done with a different eye. Where previously I might not have been instantly attracted to digital media news,  I now actively seek it out. And there’s a lot of it. I read it slowly if it doesn’t make sense, or I scan it. If I haven’t got time to read it, I cut the article out, fold it and store it for later (in one of my ‘piles requiring action‘.)

Here’s just a sample of what I have read in the Mx over a two-day period (admittedly not a great or erudite source to base my random sample on, but you get the point):

Paris Hilton claims she didn’t own the bag in which cocaine was found (even though she posted a Twitter photograph of herself holding it).

British postal service  has launched an “intelligent” stamp – stamps designed to work with image recognition software on a range of smartphones. Using the app (Junaio), users hover the phone over the stamp which automatically directs the user to the online content.

Yay! Tuesday is Webcast day. Mx will tell me the top 5 YouTube clips, Top 5 MySpace sites, Top 5 Tweets, Top 5 Facebook pages and Top 5 Randoms (websites) for the week, as voted by readers, which is practically everyone who managed to get into the train. Hmmm. Captive audience. Should I send them the link to my blog?

Supporters of WikiLeaks founder are now “blowing the whistle on him”, insisting he step aside until criminal investigations are concluded.

North Korea held a secretive national day celebrations at China’s Shanghai Expo, shutting out most visitors and media from the event.

The six puppies seen being thrown into the river in Bosnia have supposedly been rescued by a grandmother.

Psychologists say that using Facebook while studying can lower exam results by up to 20 per cent.

Social networkers and gamers are spending big on virtual goods that are only ever used online.

A Twitter treasure hunt starts this week in Melbourne and another four international locations. Those who locate globes hidden by a travel company will win a holiday.

Way too much information.

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7 thoughts on “(Way) too much information (Part 1)”

  1. I know what you mean… I regularly feel overwhelmed by alllll the information out there. And I want to be informed; I want to read it all and know everything, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day! I’d love to be able to read every blog in my Google Reader, read every major newspaper every day, read every book that exists on a long list of topics I want to know more/ everything about.

    And I do read a lot. Sometimes I feel like all I ever do is read. But I always feel like I’m failing because there is so much more information being thrown at me that just slips by.

    It’s crazy- in the 17th century or whatever it was actually possible to have read EVERY book that exists. Isn’t that insane? But now with mass publishing and even more so with web, even if you decided to dedicate your entire life to just reading (or listening and watching other media) you could never get through it all. Not even close.

    So I don’t know how to stop feeling overwhelmed… I know the logical advice is to just break it down into pieces and filter it, choose just a couple of things you want to follow. But it’s hard.

  2. Do you ever feel like you’re using too much time on all this? Usually, things like family and rest get pushed aside for all this reading. I have yet to find a balance. Let’s Google “information management” and see what comes up, or maybe we should Google, “How to be able to do everything and not feel tired or overwhelmed”. Or do as MissBec says and break it down. I’ve limited myself on ten comments a week, no wasting time on people’s Facebook updates, and no videos until I get my more important things done.

  3. I also find it is a bit overwhelmed that we are forced to receive/ read so much information everyday. The reason i use ‘force’ is not because someone coerce us physically. Indeed, it is ourselves, who assign so much workload.

    One thing i have learnt from this course is different blogger has their own writing style, and quite often i know i am not someone’s potential reader. In this situation, i did a lot of skimmings. You dont have to read every blog and try to comment on everything. Keeping focusing on some particulars, and you can find resonance from reading them`

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