People do not dislike information overload

Research published in the journal The Information Society suggests that people do not dislike the information overload they have to contend with as part of modern living. The study found that few individuals feel overwhelmed by the volume of news and information available in today's always-on media environment.

Carried out by investigators at Northwestern University, the study showed people enjoy having plenty of different sources from which they can obtain the information they require.

Eszter Hargittai, Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the learning institute, noted: "We found that the high volume of information available these days seems to make most people feel empowered and enthusiastic."

It was found that while few survey respondents feel bogged down from the extra information, most are enthusiastic about the new media environment and view online news more favourably than television bulletins.

However, trivial social media posts provide the most frustration for people seeking information.

Chartered Psychologist Dr Karol Szlichcinski comments:

"This is an interesting study that focuses on how people use information in their private lives, and exposes lazy generalisations about 'information overload' outside the environments for which the phrase was originally coined. The finding that the high volumes of information available today make most people feel empowered and enthusiastic reflects the increasing demand for new media and for devices to access them.

"However the study does not address the question of how people react to increased volumes of information at work in mainstream office environments, where they may have less control over the flow of information than in their private lives."

share