Too Much Information, or Sliding Down the Scree Slope of Trivia
“About a year ago, I made a radical pledge. It came after several years of feeling less and less able to deal with the tidal wave of information coming at me: 3.6 zettabytes annually, which amounts to 100,000 words each day. That’s a 350 percent increase over people’s exposure in 1980.
I was drowning in data. So, like an electronic-age Dutch boy, I put my finger in the dike. Each Monday, I resolved, I would spend the entire day offline.
I didn’t make this decision lightly. As a writer, I depend on the Internet to find information, to communicate with friends and colleagues, and to refill the well of knowledge and ideas. Yet the costs of constant access were becoming impossible to ignore. Sometimes I would go online to find one thing, then spend an hour or two reading about other interesting things, while completely forgetting what I had originally been looking for. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t keep my thoughts straight. Sometimes I felt like I was losing my mind.”