We are living in an ocean of Information. It's all around us and growing at exponential rates. It's no doubt what the impact of that data pool has had on our way of life. But more significantly, it has changed everything about how we create, communicate & relate with our kind.
Global Internet traffic surpassed the exabyte threshold in 2001 and will reach 4.2 zettabytes by 2020. To put it in context, here is a real-life scenario.
One zettabyte is equal to 36,000 years of High Definition video, or Netflix's entire catalogue rewatched 3,177 times. Then get both figures and quadruple them. That is a whole lot of data, and over 90% of it created in the last two years alone.
But more useful than watching numbers is answering the questions that arise due to this massive stream of data we come into contact with every day.
Information overload has demonstrated that even the most intelligent and upstanding people can have problems with lack of focus and distraction when they are faced with too many choices or situational issues that overwhelm them.
In an age where we are all connected digitally, it’s necessary to have a sure route to finding the reliable information we need while avoiding cleverly hidden misinformation traps that are quickly taking up significant amounts of digital estate.
Today we want to look at the impact of pairing a massive stream of Information with a world connected like never before and provide a simpler solution to navigating this complex age, a phenomenon that has famously been called - The Digital Era.
Before we can look at the current state of Information in the digital age, let's first create a fair understanding of the different factors that make the digital era have a material impact on the information space.
Evolution Of Information Flow In The Digital Age
Due to the interconnection in the world today, People aren't interested in simply saving and collecting raw Information. Now is the age of digital experience, when people tend to share not raw Information but personal experience, an age where people want fast answers to their questions, one where the average African child with a mobile phone has more information than the president of the United States did 15 years ago. Accessing the information is easy, sorting it out is the challenging part.
The pace at which the digital space in the world is progressing is unprecedented & increasing exponentially. Consider this - By 2019, there were 5.2 billion mobile users, 4.4 billion internet users and 3.5 billion active social media users. And those figures are only rising.
From groundbreaking steps like the introduction of Faster, safer and more reliable 5G networks to digital disruptors like stripe changing the way we transact, Coursera changing how we learn, Uber changing how we move, & famously Airbnb is changing the way we live.
Currently, over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day at the current pace. And this pace is subject to the rate of penetration of the Internet of Things (IoT).
We are daily adding large piles of data to our already existing stockpile whenever we turn to our search engines for answers. More than half of searches are done on mobile currently, with voice search now growing at fast rates(meaning the number of unique searches is only going to increase).
Google now processes more than 40,000 searches every second. That's a new search per pair of people on the earth. And while it's correct to believe that more searches are done on Google, there many more search engines available. Not forgetting over 87% of searches are carried out in the dark web.
On the one hand, there can never be "too much information". It's all useful to someone, somewhere, at a particular time. Whether it is a note about a person living in the 1600s or a childish cartoon video, anything can be useful, and it's great to have an Internet which can provide it to us if we know where to look.
On the other hand, it can all be overwhelming. Just as there are more books published in a year than you can read, there's more of everything than you can consume.
COVID-19 appears to be the Chief digital transformation officer of the world, a lobbyist we could not have dreamed of or afforded. She is pushing mankind to go digital, which mechanically creates more data & information available. This is creating many new opportunities along with a lot of noise.
Challenges Of Information Overload
Did you know that 25% of a knowledge worker’s day is spent just finding information — Just think about this for a minute. Across the business, people are spending an entire quarter of their time just trawling for information hidden somewhere in their emails, files, chat conversations, and other sources.
According to Bertram Gross, 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.
There is no escaping information overload in today’s digital age where It’s easier than ever before to share your thoughts, opinions, and ideas with the world.
Now we are left with the burden of figuring out what to spend your time on. How many funny cat videos will you watch? Or How many science articles are enough? Whether you want to spend 36,000 years sorting through the already existing information or how fast you want to cut through the noise and gain insights to your questions?
Imagine how great it would be if you could focus on your core competency and leave the burden of cutting through the noise and finding reliable insights to the experts.
In this book, we look at reasons why outsourcing secondary research to experts can prove to be one of the best decisions for your organization.
Learn From The Experts
Brainsfeed, a global crowdsourced research platform is making things simpler for businesses trying to navigate their way through this world of information overload.
We have over 5000 analysts all with unique experiences to offer. But here is what we believe. With the rate at which the world is drowning in information, we don’t need another paywall protected source to quality information.
That is why we have introduced a new value packed podcast series - Ace The Information Age, discussing how robust access to information has changed the way we think, act, and function as humans.
In every episode, we feature an industry leader. Someone who is actively involved & in contact with these massive amounts of information and is clearly making it through. They have been “over the mountain” — they know what works and what doesn’t, and perhaps what might work better than something else. You may not be able to directly acquire their wisdom, but you’ll likely gain valuable insight from it, and some of that wisdom is sure to rub off onto you.
This podcast series is an attempt to seek and learn from information overload front-liners- people who are facing the information overload challenge head-on, to make important decisions on a daily basis.
Here are some of the episodes we have published:
And we’ve only begun. Subscribe to our Youtube channel to stay updated every time we release a new episode.
Our goal isn’t to create more information but to connect the people with hard pressing questions, business leaders with critical decisions, and organizations in search of clarity with the right answers from individuals actively participating in their field of interest.
As David Weinberger said, "The smartest person in the room is the room."