Information Overload

Tips to avoid information overload

By Howard Blake, Chairman of Blake Holdings

The digital economy, combined with the speed at which digital convergence is developing, facilitates a level of connectivity that our forefathers would find difficult to fathom. The consequence of this has been the creation of a borderless society. We can now interact with anyone around the world via social media, using a variety of multimedia content, not limited by location, time or space.

However, with so much content being delivered to us across our computers, mobile devices and wearables on a daily basis, there is the danger of information overload. How do you begin to sift through the sheer volume of blogs, videos, news articles and much more, marching relentlessly across your feeds? This problem not only exists for the average person at home, but is also critical for businesses, as it affects working time and productivity.

Then there is the time and effort we thought we’d saved that goes into maintaining our social media personas. Thanks to the broad reach of social media, people have greater opportunities to engage with audiences that they never before contemplated reaching, but the admin involved with keeping up such networks can be overwhelming.

The first step to overcoming information overload is assessing your unique social media needs and focusing on how to best cater to them. For instance, corporates may be better served spending most of their time and effort on LinkedIn, while designers and photographers would benefit more from visual platforms like Instagram. It is often more effective to focus on the platform that fits your specific lifestyle and requirements, rather than trying to be the ruler of them all.

For anyone on a tight schedule, taking the time to read and update social media can be demanding. Everyone feels the pressure to maintain the We all need to develop a balance when it comes to living life in the real world and the one we live through social media. Part of this balance is ensuring your social media persona aligns closely with your real-life actions. It’s much easier to maintain a persona that closely represents yourself, than it is to keep up a façade that greatly embellishes, or totally misrepresents, who you are in real life.

One way to achieve balance includes setting aside dedicated times for social media administration. For businesses in particular, it’s critical to have a plan of action in place, such as a content plan, so that you have a clear strategy for scheduling social media posts for each day, week or month ahead.

What about sorting through the barrage of content that we continually experience? Living in the information age, we take in more information than ever before, and with that comes untold opportunities. However, we cannot escape the fact that much of the data flashing across our screens is often completely irrelevant to our goals.

Ultimately, it comes down to making new technologies work for you, rather than against you. Make sure to utilise apps and software that can sift through large amounts of data and deliver the relevant content straight to your screen. Data analytics and similar innovations are excellent weapons in battling information overload.

While the digital economy delivers incredible convenience, it also has the potential to rob us of our time, eventually leading to a burnout. The good news is, if used correctly, you can make digital technology and social media work to your advantage. By carefully choosing your level of exposure and managing it effectively, you can be sure that the virtual world will be your oyster.

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