Infoxication? What a little word! Since the Digital Age came into our lives, information on any topic abounds and in great quantity.
There is so much information, that sometimes we are not able to digest it. However, this term was first coined before Google appeared. Alfons Cornella did it in 1996.
Every time a question about something strikes us, we run to the Internet for clarification. We are compulsive consumers of information. But there is so much that, sometimes, we choke and we are not able to process it.
That being said, you may be wondering what exactly infoxication is. Well, we are not going to wait any longer to define this concept.
What is infoxication?
Infoxication is the excess or overload of information, which prevents you from delving into the topics you address.
She has her main growing niche on the Internet. The English term for digital infoxication is “overload information“
There are many digital media that bombard us with information: blogs, social networks, search engines, etc. and you try to attend to it all, but in the end, you collapse and don’t consume it.
This situation can generate anguish, nervousness and discomfort, for fear of missing something of those inputs that come to you, which may be important to your interests.
How can I recognize if I am “infoxicated”?
On some occasion it has happened to all of us who have blocked ourselves, seeing ourselves before more sources of information than we can control. And this has led us to a paralysis due to not knowing where to start organizing that information.
It also happens to us that we read diagonally, because we believe that this way we capture the important information more quickly. We do not read articles or posts word for word, from left to right and from top to bottom. We do not deepen the understanding of the text, but we remain superficial.
If you know and these symptoms sound familiar to you, it is that you have gone through one of its phases.
Fortunately, there are tools that help us manage digital information. At the end of the post we see some of them.
Now that we have a clear meaning and symptoms, surely you understand that we are facing a 21st century digital disease.
Before entering what are the possible causes of the subject that concerns us today, I leave you some questions that I would like you to reflect on:
Is it worth it that we go to the limit of blocking our brain, of paralyzing it until we are unable to carry out our daily tasks?
Is there information we can “sacrifice” to focus on what’s important?
Why do we infoxicate ourselves?
The answer to this question is simple: we infoxicate ourselves because we are hooked on new technologies.
And we are not just talking about blogs, websites or Facebook.
How many times do you watch your WhatsApp notifications per day? How often do you listen to notifications on your smartphone? Does it really need to be that often?
We have become used to consumption for immediacy.
We are used to the “now” and the “now” and create needs that seem very important to us, but 2 hours later they are relegated by a new input.
For some time, I have collaborated with a brand that asked me for help because it was beyond their daily routine. They themselves say a phrase that perfectly reflects the topic we are talking about here:
“The immediate outweighs the important.”
When this happens in the field of information, digital infoxication appears.
6 reasons why you can suffer digital infoxication
The causes for which it originates are personal and varied. It happens depending on the characteristic or circumstantial variables of people.
However, among all of them, the most common are the following:
Sometimes, we are faced with a circumstance in which we must make a decision. And it may happen that, through inexperience, ignorance, fear or any other reason, we do not feel safe to resolve the outcome.
Naturally we go to different sources of information, looking for help and guidance that makes us decide more appropriate. But that insecurity makes the exploration such that we end up overwhelmed and blocked, not knowing what to do.
2. Save information “just in case”
We already know that the titles of the articles are essential when it comes to attracting the attention of users. And sometimes, they are so attractive that, even without knowing what the post says, we keep it.
We haven’t even bothered to read the information. We have hardly scanned it. But there is that url, stored in our files “just in case” we need later.
This is a typical example of infoxication cause.
We keep so much information that we have no material time to assimilate. And that distresses us.
When we begin to filter the information we receive from the Internet, we tend to be brief. Perhaps because we are not even able to understand the published content.
Do you remember when you opened your RSS reader? (If you don’t know what it is, don’t worry, because I’m going to explain it to you a few lines below).
At the beginning we have only a few blogs that we follow and we can read them all without too much difficulty.
But, it’s so easy to add other URLs!
So, without realizing it, you come across a profile in which you enter content for its own sake. And you are reading them, more or less a day.
There comes a time when you find an infinity of daily articles that consume several hours of reading. And obviously you don’t have them. Reading posts indiscriminately does not make you bill more.
But since they are there, you read them (or at least try).
After 3 days it is impossible for you to keep up with the publications of those websites that you follow and you find that you have more than 100 articles pending browsing.
It appears the burden, the scan and not the comprehensive reading of content. And after this, the infoxication appears.
Another case in which we carry out exhaustive information searches is when we have to decide to put a new service, product or infoproduct for sale.
We want to know what the competition does, to learn from its mistakes and improve our procedures. For this reason, we launched into the thousands of articles that appear on the subject that interests us.
The result is that we find more information than we can manage and we are blocked due to the inability to internalize it.
If you are reading information on the Internet under the premise of “What if I miss something important?”Is that you are only one step away from falling into it.
This is a bad travel companion in your self-learning process with free digital content.
The fear of losing information is mainly responsible for the lack of specialization.
The infoxication produced by this emotion makes us not delve into the topics that interest us, which are those that we are innately good at.
If you are up to date in your sector, you know perfectly well that there are different equally important specialties in it. For example, in the Digital Marketing sector, it is essential to properly work on the content you offer to your users and also the organic positioning of them.
Wanting to know about all of them, at the same time, makes you lose track of your goals.
Put the brake on and don’t fall for the digital infoxication.
If you have very present and take to the extreme that famous phrase that says that “Information is power”You are at risk of suffering it.
That date has done a lot of harm to all of us.
We often use the information simply to pretend we know about a topic. The problem is when we want to know about everyone.
And to avoid skating on it, we are obliged to read all the news that revolves around it.
Does it sound like you have seen or lived it?
7 Ways to avoid digital infoxication
Although the origin of the infoxication is in the enormous amount of information that exists on the Internet, it does not imply that it is also the culprit of this syndrome.
The responsibility to suffer or not, is only ours, because we are the ones in charge of filtering the publications that we want to read.
As we can filter and select the data that is published on the Internet and not get to infoxicarnos?
I will give you 7 methods to put into practice from today, if you have felt identified with one or more of the causes or symptoms that I have mentioned above.
1. RSS readers
An RSS feed is a file containing updates from a blog, web, newspaper or digital magazine, etc.
Therefore, an RSS reader is a tool that allows you to know these updates without having to go to the updated original source.
An example of this would be Feedly, widely used by digital marketing professionals.
With them you group the information they read by categories and facilitate your access.
2. Find sources of quality information
When you manage the information you receive through an RSS reader, it is very easy to follow countless digital media and bloggers.
But above all, you need to prioritize quality over quantity, if you do not want the infoxication to take over you.
Choose 2 or 3 main fonts for each topic you follow. No more.
3. Create your own criteria
Being self-taught is possible thanks to the Internet. So there will come a time when you have your own judgment on an issue.
It is time to stop reading at will and start doing it more critically. You will see that there are blogs that you used to follow and now they do not contribute anything to you. Don’t worry about deleting them.
Each thing has its moment and each blog its target.
4. Use content curation tools
Content curation is, briefly, the way we filter and select the information that comes to us from the sources we have chosen.
With them we avoid our infoxication and minimize the risk of infoxication to others, since they allow us to share content on our social networks.
An example of these tools is Scoop.it.
5. Create lists on Twitter
Take advantage of this utility to group profiles or related topics between them. So, when you want to know about something in particular, you just have to go to consult them there.
A great idea to escape this evil of our digital age, don’t you think?
6. Lock a schedule in your calendar to find and read information
Don’t be constantly on the lookout for updates from every blog or digital newspaper. Each one publishes at different times.
So, my recommendation is that you assign these tasks at specific times of the day. For example, you can do it first thing in the morning and, perhaps, also in the afternoon (depending on whether your job requires it).
7. Set a maximum time to search for information
You can’t spend 1000 hours in front of a computer or mobile screen scanning news and reading titles that, sometimes, do not reflect the content behind them. Forget!
So it is convenient that you decide how much time you really need to invest in the news of the day.
For example, I spend 2 hours a day.
The rest of the time we have to produce, because we have a job to do for which we are paid.
If you are unemployed, your job is obviously looking for a job. So the interesting thing for you may be to spend more time on search engines.
The Internet will continue here in the future. The information we have access to today will grow because technological innovation leads to it. And it should not be stopped, because it answers many of our doubts and satisfies a large part of our needs.
Therefore, we must be smart, practical and take the right tools, so as not to go to the extreme that publications lead us to diminish the skills and resources we have.
Digital infoxication is cured with management and organization, therefore, we have to be able to filter the information.
Do you think that we will be able to keep infoxication at bay or that it will continue to grow and feed on people’s time?
Digital Marketing, Social Media and Social Selling Consultant. Specialist in digital strategy and focused on how to sell on the Internet. Teacher in master’s and postgraduate courses in digital marketing and perfectly knowledgeable in the logistics and transport sector. More than 20 years in sales. University training in Psychology.