#InformationOverload #infobesity #infoxication #InformationGlut #DataSmog #AnalysisParalysis #ParalysisByAnalysis #ExtinctByInstinct #DataFasts

(an old “tumblr post”)

“Data Smog is a 1997 book by journalist David Shenk and published by Harper Collins.

It addresses the author’s ideas on how the information technology revolution would shape the world, and how the large amount of data available on the Internet would make it more difficult to sift through and separate fact from fiction.


Ways in which to ‘beat the smog’:[2]

Turn off the television for at least an hour or two every evening.

Spend some time each week without your pager or cell phone.

Resist advertising – never buy a product based on unsolicited email (spam).

Go on periodic “data fasts.” A weekend in the country away from the telephone can rejuvenate a smogged-in brain.

Write clearly and succinctly. Verbose writing is wasteful and difficult to read.

Skim newsletters and magazines and rip out a copy of an article or two that you really want to read and digest.

Filter your email. Many email programs allow you to set ”filters“ which send unwanted email directly to the trash. It is worth taking the time to do this.

Do not forward chain letters, urban legends, urgent messages about email viruses, or claims that Bill Gates will send everyone thousands of dollars. These things clog up everybody’s inbox with worthless stuff.

Organize your Web bookmarks or Favorites. Keeping these in meaningful folders will go a long way toward helping you really find that site you are looking for.”


“Information overload (also known as infobesity [1] or infoxication[2] ) refers to the difficulty a person can have understanding an issue and making decisions that can be caused by the presence of too much information.[3]The term is popularized by Alvin Toffler in his bestselling 1970 book Future Shock, but is mentioned in a 1964 book by Bertram Gross, The Managing of Organizations.[4] Speier et al. (1999) stated:[5]

Information overload occurs when the amount of input to a system exceeds its processing capacity. Decision makers have fairly limited cognitive processing capacity. Consequently, when information overload occurs, it is likely that a reduction in decision quality will occur.

In recent years, the term “information overload” has evolved into phrases such as “information glut” and “data smog” (Shenk, 1997). What was once a term grounded in cognitive psychology has evolved into a rich metaphor used outside the world of academia. In many ways, the advent of information technology has increased the focus on information overload: information technology may be a primary reason for information overload due to its ability to produce more information more quickly and to disseminate this information to a wider audience than ever before.”


“Analysis paralysis or paralysis by analysis is the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. A decision can be treated as over-complicated, with too many detailed options, so that a choice is never made, rather than try something and change if a major problem arises. A person might be seeking the optimal or “perfect” solution upfront, and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results, while on the way to a better solution.[1]

The phrase describes a situation in which the opportunity cost of decision analysis exceeds the benefits that could be gained by enacting some decision, or an informal or non-deterministic situation where the sheer quantity of analysis overwhelms the decision-making process itself, thus preventing a decision. The phrase applies to any situation where analysis may be applied to help make a decision and may be a dysfunctional element of organizational behavior. This is often phrased as paralysis by analysis, in contrast to extinct by instinct (making a fatal decision based on hasty judgment or a gut-reaction).”