Used to be when the term information overload was bandied about freely -- as far back as even the late 1980's, as I recall. It seems rather odd -- mysterious, in fact -- that now, when the rate at which information is flung in our faces has grown by many orders of magnitude, we don't hear about information overload (IOL) anymore. Has IOL become the New Normal -- so commonplace, so ubiquitous, so inescapable that we are now resigned to it, having accepted it like the air we breathe? Maybe -- although, given the severe limitations of our cognitive systems, and the fact that our cognitive capacities could not have evolved and adapted in so short a time, that New Normal is unlikely to have arrived yet. Perhaps we have changed our ways of dealing with information to fit our limitations. There are at least two signs of this having occurred:
Exhibit A is the unanticipatedly wild success of Twitter, also known as microblogging, which lets you say anything you want in 140 characters or less, to anybody who wishes to follow you (technical term). 'Star' Twitterers such as movie star Ashton Kutcher have hundreds of thousands of followers, hanging on to every word they tweet.Exhibit B: The rapid spread of 'micro-presentation' events such as Pecha-Kucha (chit-chat, in Japanese) and Ignite. At these events each presenter is allowed exactly 20 slides; further, each slide is displayed for only a limited amount of time and then transitions to the next -- 20 seconds in a Pecha-Kucha and 15 seconds in an Ignite event; each speaker gets only 6 minutes and 40 seconds, and 5 minutes, respectively to convey their message.