Information overload is a new concept. Just two decades ago news on the internet was still in its infancy and television was the place news would break. Viewing the “news of the world” was something that could be done in an hour.
Since then, news has expanded from a global highlight reel to an in depth analysis that ranges though not just every topic imaginable, but to individual friends, acquaintances, celebrities, and politicians. The desire to feel connected to the world draws viewers in with a promise of community and shared understanding, but the result is often forgettable entertainment.
Staying up to date on The News has become a popular thing to do that has somehow come to hold social capital. When I see a friend post about their thoughts on the latest political scandal or comment that they have already read an article
I’ve fallen into this as well – attempting to read all the latest news, events and friends updates in order to avoid a fear of missing out. News has switched from staying in the loop to a form of entertainment. The need to be culturally cognizance of all events currently happening is a route without a destination.
When I find myself falling into this trap, I’ll try to change my default consumption behavior.
In this way, the news is comparable to a massively multiplayer role playing games (MMORPG). There is no ending and the only way to win is to not play.
While I don’t advise sticking your head in the sand – is there an amount of news for you that would be healthier? Would you be happier removing some form new consumption from your life?