28 May 2012

Information Overload?

Image by Khalid Albaih on Flickr - used under CC licence

I picked up this on Twitter last week (sorry - can't remember who from...)


It created very mixed feelings in me. I could relate instantly to the "perpetual sense of 'missing out'" - the more you engage in social media, the more it gets it hooks into you. I find it particularly difficult as I work part-time so I'm always missing out on the first part of the week (I work Wed/Thur/Fri). It means I'm never going to be a consistent tweeter and often I miss out on news stories that come out on those days as they've sunk way down my stream by the time I get to work on a Wednesday. As will all the other down-sides of working part-time, I try to cultivate calm acceptance (2 days off a week are great)!

The main conclusion - "To be clear, information overload is a symptom of over consumption and the inability to refine online experiences based on interest and importance" - this got me narked initially. I felt a bit bludgeoned by that statement as I *do* experience information overload sometimes and I don't like being told it's all my inability! Seems to me, this is HARD - it relies on a constant editing process of selecting and learning new tools, refining your sources / feeds and critically engaging with them. It's not like just picking up your daily newspaper of choice.

It's up to every individual to decide how important social media is to them, and it won't be to everyone. I do see it as a vital source of information and I believe - as an information professional - I ought to be evangelizing (in a focussed, relevant way) to others about it too. This means I'm keen to take part in social media sessions here for researchers and students and I'll try to keep on top of social media sources for the subjects I support.

I also think that "refining online experiences" is a key digital or information literacy skill. I think this is something we should be able to teach or advise on as librarians. So I try to educate myself in how to do it as much as I can. That's an ongoing process and sometimes seems very uphill. And that's where CPD23 comes in. :o)


  1. Hi Sam - It's Monday morning and am definitely suffering from information overload. It's one of the few drawbacks of working part-time, isn't it?

  2. Nia I had a sudden change of circumstances last Friday and for a short while (only a short while!) I am working full time. It has given me more time to catch up but...a whole new topic to keep up with. Swings & roundabouts!