Avoiding information pollution & overload: Information and interactivity itself can be the enemy

design
best-practice
humane-technology
inspiration

#1

I’m of the belief that to solve the media (including technology) addiction crisis, stop creating so much information. Write much less, take few pictures, create fewer apps and sites and so on – only create media that is truly important.

We as humans hold deeply the false premise that more information (knowledge) is good. Until recent history that rang true, but then we started to have too much TV, gaming, computer and smartphone.

Information overload and addiction are a severe crisis. Every time we write, someone else may have to read it, furthering that person’s information overload and addiction. Often the more information we create, as we type, snap and message, the more noise drowns out the important things in life, including burying key information and facts. This is an opportunity to rethink our history and future. Perhaps creating low value information could be looked down upon, like creating pollution?

By reducing information, we increase its value and also the level of human knowledge.

This is a great opportunity is for everything that isn’t media. Instead of sending 10 messages, make a 2 minute phone call. Instead of taking a photo at the beach, go swimming. Instead of watching TV, go to yoga class. Instead of hunching over addictive pictures on a glowing rectangle, go to a gallery opening. Instead mashing your fingers on glass and plastic, go to a restaurant. Instead of creating videos, talk with a friend.


#2

So true! We are all getting nuts. It is highly unproductive to spend time typing when we can have a good chat on the phone. Something that takes 20 minutes on Whatsapp can usually be resolved in 2 minutes on a call. What explains this irrationale behavior: probably the innate desire to have a “transcript”, for whatever purposes (we usually never look at it again).

I always tell my wife to call her colleagues instead of debating on Whatsapp. So unproductive!


#3

I would not advocate reducing information, but selecting what information is worthwhile. Sharing pictures of your food is, in my view, insane. If you had a great experience at a restaurant, recommend it to your friend. Who gives a damn about a bloody picture of a dish?

Also, I constantly see people taking pictures of the most uninteresting things you could think of. They see a steeped slope, they take a picture of it, and maybe, they will share it. How fascinating.

Maybe we should all start telling our friends: don’t spam me with all these useless pictures.


#4

Not to mention how much energy this society consumes to keep data centers running, so they can preserve for eternity all the crap pictures we are taking. If anyone has an idea how much of fossile fuel we burn to keep memories of a tremendous pizza experience forever, that would be very enlightening.


#5

See this article on Forbes about data centers power consumption - https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2017/12/15/why-energy-is-a-big-and-rapidly-growing-problem-for-data-centers/amp/


#6

I can see by your 4 responses that you don’t advocate reducing information. :wink:

In my opinion we should do much to reduce the amount of information. Minimalism for information. With less information clutter, knowledge will advance faster.


#7

There is a new trend in minimalising the interactiveness and information on webpages. I found an interesting article on that couple of days ago, but can’t find it now.

But it entails not cramming the page with links and interactive elements, but instead ensuring a focus on the real content. Also articles should hold as less hyperlinks as possible, and have the interactive elements that are needed at the bottom, etc.

This is a good topic, which I’ll move to the Humane Design category. Finding more best-practices and resources along this line will be quite valuable.


#8

This is going to be a free feature in the forthcoming reallyread.it iOS app (iPhone and iPad)!!!

Anyone’s welcome to join the iOS beta!


#9

You are so speaking my language.
Thank you, sunflower person! :v::sunflower::blue_heart:


#10

Stuff of nightmares: I had a nightmare where I had to walk gingerly between wind turbines that had been installed at every square inch of the land because of the desperate need to preserve all the silly pictures on the cloud. Who is going to go through all of that stuff after millions of people- generations of people pass away and they don’t delete it?


#11

Another aspect of this: crowdsourced reviews of businesses, such as restaurants and hotels. I recently warned one of those sites that they should do more to audit highly positive reviews.

Many digital agencies make a lot of money selling services to businesses where they will create many fictitious accounts to post rave reviews on crowdsourced websites.

A whole industry was born from a flawed system.

In one instance, I noticed an unusual pattern of excellent reviews of a restaurant, one a day, over a 6-week period. This pattern did not fit with regular reviews, which would come at random times, and give various ratings. One of them even said “I am not sure of the spelling, but I believe the name of the chef is [bla bla]. He is one of the best …”. Do you think a regular reviewer would ask for the name of the chef in a non-Michelin star restaurant?

Conclusion: a lot of supposedly valuable information on such review sites is purchased by the very businesses they are supposed to independently rate. See the many scandals about such and such hotel purchasing positive reviews.


#12

Yes exactly! Even though we have the power to efficiently store endless information, the more junk that we keep the less we’re able to find relevant information.

I’ve recently tried to apply this principle, can it information minimalism. I’ve deleted many browser bookmarks, disabled all browser history, started exclusively using Firefox Focus on my phone, deleted many unneeded notes and unwanted music. Instead of missing things, I found the more junk I deleted the better everything became, easier, higher quality and lighter.

I’ve also previously deleted all of my many thousands of Facebook posts and tens of thousands of likes using the Social Book Post Manager which automates the process of deleting each one individually. It’s actually the only way to delete Facebook as even if you disable or delete you account your posts will stay unless you delete them individually.

Don’t burden humanity with your junk. Many of us already know we shouldn’t have many possessions. But that also applies to information, especially social media. Make life easier on yourself, on those around you and on anyone on the receiving end of your online media.


#13

I’m loving this whole thread! The one question which comes up for me is: what is high quality, worthy of sharing, kind of stuff? As a musician and podcast host I am asking myself this a lot.


#14

Great question! It’s whatever you find to be worthwhile yourself.

“Ethics is in the world of reason, if every person was enlightened which will never happen there would be no need for ethics or reason. So ethics is a man made phenomena to regulate the deluded egotistical human.” - Nathan Brown