There is WAY too much information out there.
For the most part, this isn’t a problem. The more the merrier, right? Wikipedia is certainly a lot more useful when it’s full of information.
The problem is the fact that I feel the need to consume it all, to read and watch and listen and process until I have a grasp on everything and know a little bit about all of it. I try to spend some time reading every day, both online and in dead-tree media, to keep up on current events, and every day, my stack of new magazines seems a little taller, and the number of unread posts in my news reader is a little higher. I know I can’t possibly take in everything that comes my way, but I’ve always had an overwhelming desire to know what’s going on.
Internet Anxiety Disorder first came to my attention over SIX MONTHS AGO, about the same time Ryan found it. I’ve been meaning to comment on it ever since, but I always seem to have something to read.
My intent to articulate this was recently revived when I found a link (from somewhere) to an article by Bob Walsh: All The News Doesn’t Fit. Just a few days earlier, Google had introduced Google Reader. The introductory post on Google Blog said it best (though almost definitely not first): how is anyone “supposed to keep up with the fire hose of stuff launched from the web’s spigot?”
I like to be able to comment intelligently on the issues facing the world around me, and as such, I try to keep on top of things. I’ve been spending more time reading lately and feel like I’m getting a better grasp on things, but it never slows down. Currently:<ul class="inPostList"><li>I have a half-dozen unread Wired magazines laying around.</li>
</ul> I feel like I’m missing out when I hear people talking about the latest book - two good examples are The Tipping Point and Freakonomics , both old news by now - but I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll never be able to keep up on it all. Yesterday, I started reading The Influentials (which I owned for TWO YEARS before finally starting) and thought this summed it all up nicely:
The average American would have to read 334 books per day, go to 11,000 web sites per day, peruse 15 magazines per day, and tune into 29 radio stations every day for a year to see everything available to him or her - and that's not counting the dozens of programs being beamed every day by the hundreds of television networks vying for viewers' attention.
I haven’t even tried to address TV, which has only gotten worse with the recent acquisition (and subsequent upgrade) of TiVo. I watch Simpsons or Aqua Teen Hunger Force when I feel like I need a break from consuming all the print media I need to get to.
There’s a lot out there, and it just keeps coming. I know I can’t possibly get all of it, but I feel like I’m missing something if I don’t at least catch the major stuff. I’ve learned to be very suspicious of anyone who seems to be on top of it all - they are clearly unemployed and don’t require sleep.