Infomania: Why we can’t afford to ignore it any longer

Infomania: Why we can’t afford to ignore it any longer: "‘In the information society, nobody thinks. We expected to banish paper, but we actually banished thought’ – Michael Crichton "

From the First Monday Article:

Today’s rapid flow and exchange of information, and the consequent tasks they impose, are overwhelming for knowledge workers and their managers. The barrage of communication exacts a toll on their productivity, as well as on their personal well–being. The problem encompasses two distinct yet interlinked causative phenomena: E–mail overload. A typical Intel knowledge worker receives 50–100 work–related e–mail messages each day. The continual accumulation of messages is a major driver of employees’ work experience. This volume represents a sizable task load, starting with the need to read and dispose of messages and ending with execution of uninvited work generated by those messages. This e–mail barrage taxes employees’ resources and reduces time they can devote to their primary work. It also places them in a frustrating, unending rat race. The problem isn’t the abundance of accessible information. It’s the queued streams of pushed information; that is, the accumulation of messages governed by the expectation that the worker process them all. Distractions/interruptions. On average, knowledge workers can expect three minutes of uninterrupted work on any task before being interrupted. Sources of interruption include e–mail, instant messages, phone calls, text messages, co–workers, and other distractions. The majority of these distractions are attended to immediately. The result is that people average 11 minutes on any one “working sphere” (project) before switching to another project altogether. This extreme fragmentation of work results in a severe cumulative time loss, with some estimates as high as 25 percent of the work day. In addition, the inability to concentrate on an intellectual activity requiring more than a few minutes has a debilitating effect on employees’ ability to achieve optimal results.

Is it any wonder that many folks do not feel productive at work ... or in their personal lives. How can we as an information organization work to address this issue for ourselves and those we serve. Are we in control of technology and information, or are we slaves to it?

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