Saturday, 9 June 2012
TOO MUCH INFORMATION?
We live in an amazing age of information and technology. Never before has society had access to so much information and all at our fingertips through an increasingly diverse range of technology ranging from smartphones to the now ubiquitous personal computer (PC).
But are we now entering an age of information overload where we actually have too much information and so much of it can be conflicting even when it is written by academics and professionals. Another major issue arises when accessing information on the internet as anybody can write anything and claim to be an expert and done the necessary research when in fact they have done nothing and are not as expert as they may claim to be.
Before the age of the PC and the internet people relied on books for information on many subjects. This was very often a time consuming project and required a high level of knowledge and intelligence which much of society did not have access to. As a result much of the written information can be relied upon to be factually correct and to a high standard, although it must be stressed that some academic work is very much disputed but again this is out in the academic domain so as an individual it is easy to see both sides of the argument.
In the 21st century we can now access so much information, so easily and readily, on so many different platforms, it can be very easy to become overloaded by the amount of information available and where and how to access it all. Information is now streamed to us 24/7 via the radio, television and internet in addition to the more traditional methods of leaflets, magazines, newspapers and books.
Is it any wonder then that in today’s 21st century society people are more confused than ever being bombarded with so many different messages about the same subject? Opinions are formed on a subject based on information read or heard through one media medium. These opinions are then made public through friends, work colleagues and peers and the opinions that someone thinks has been carefully researched and constructed can be torn apart in a matter of seconds because someone else has used a different source of information to form a very different opinion.
So it is back to the drawing board to trawl through an ever increasing mass of information that we are confronted with on a daily basis, trying to decide what is fact and what is fiction, what is true and what is a lie, who we can believe and who we cannot and who and what is reliable and who and what is not.
Never before has it been so difficult to sort through and decide what we can trust and believe in and in all probability it will only become more problematic in the future as more information is added and more opinions are voiced and we can access all this via an ever increasing variety of platforms and media. Yes we all have to be very careful when looking through all the information available to us but it can also be an amazingly rich and powerful journey as long as we treat all information with the respect it deserves until we know otherwise.