Information Technology has given humanity a lot of useful things. But is has also given us new problems. Like the problem that we are able to produce far more information than we will ever be able to consume. So information overload is a given. We somehow have to live with it. And learn how to prevent waste coming from e.g. filter failure. But where did the overload come from? Maybe one of the more important reasons we produce information is because we want to attract attention to it. Given this, we could also say that it’s not information overload we’re facing, but attention overload. And since we just don’t have the time to handle the overload of attention there exists, we need to find ways to filter it.

The Wikidepia article about Attention Economy states:  “Attention economics is an approach to the management of information that treats human attention as a scarce commodityAs content has grown increasingly abundant and immediately available, attention becomes the limiting factor in the consumption of information.”. What this means is the time you have available to spend for handling attention is limited. And nowadays, the time between attention interruptions also increases, which means you must have even more tools to filter the overloads coming at you. And in this constrained available time you have to carefully filter from the attention abundance. I suggest an effective filter would follow the Universal Law of Attraction: anything we pay attention to, grows. So if we want to grow good things, we should pay attention to good things. And try to ignore all the rest. But ofcourse there are plenty of other filter techniques.

Should you want to know a bit more about the ‘attention’ topic, I suggest reading the interesting post ‘Competition among memes in a world with limited attention‘ by L. Weng, A. Flammini, A. Vespignani, F. Menczer which was published 29 march 2012 in Scientific Reports by Nature Publishing Group. It tells about a/o how memes could go viral, even when there is attention scarcity (“Agents share messages on a social network but can only pay attention to a portion of the information they receive.”).


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