Here are some recent statistics about information overload in our lives:
- The average American sends 600 text messages a month.
- 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
- A typical user’s iTunes library has 3,000 songs.
- Searching the Internet for things they have seen but can’t find costs U.K. businesses more than £1,200 pounds per employee per year.
- More than 90% of of U.S. workers admitted to throwing away work information without reading it.
There's bad news and good news about information overload. The bad news is (of course) it isn't going away anytime soon, and if anything is only going to get worse.
The good news is that information overload is part of our job. In our role as experts, our clients and audiences are looking for us to sift through information and convert it into insights, wisdom and practical ideas for them and their organisations.
They don't want to search Google, ask questions on LinkedIn or tweet their questions. Sure, they can do that, but they either get too much (because there's so much information available) or too little (because they aren't connected to the right networks). Instead, they want you to have done the research, discarded what's irrelevant, taken the rest and translated it into something they can use immediately.
That's why information overload is a good thing! Sure, you can always improve your processes, but don't fight information overload. Embrace it. It's part of your job.
What People Say
I was thrilled to discover this week that Forbes magazine included me in their list of top 10 social media influencers in book publishing:
I'm particularly pleased because the criteria they used weren't just about the number of followers (reach), but included the ability to engage a community (resonance) and how it fit their particular circumstances (relevance). I've always advised people to focus on quality rather than quantity alone, so it's pleasing to see this being measured and recognised.