Blaugust 2015, Day 24 – Information Overload

Recently I’ve been experiencing a bit of mental overload when it comes to things that require my constant attention – or those that strongly encourage it. Twitter is one of those things. It’s not enough that I have sugar-bomb MMOs leading me around on a leash in my late thirties; I’ve got a torrent of information coming to me every time I click on the little white-on-blue bird on my iPhone. (Shush. I didn’t get to pick the phone.)

I like everyone I follow on Twitter, so it’s not the people. Well, sometimes it is. OK, it’s the people. Those who tend to send out a constant stream of tweets about silly things I tend to not follow. #sorrynotsorry, as the hashtag goes. I don’t mind looking at what you ate for dinner (especially if it’s tasty) or seeing screenshots of the latest thing you did in your favorite game. I don’t mind interesting things at all.

It’s when messages are broadcast in non-stop, asynchronous streams that it becomes problematic for me. I’ve recently reduced the number of people I’m following on Twitter by 25%. I found that the volume of stuff that I am encouraged to attend to has gone down, but there’s still a significant amount of life being lived and shared with others. It’s simply too much brain-weight for me to sift through all of it on an hourly basis. Ultimately, I think it’s a matter of information reception preference: I would much rather read through a comprehensive summary of someone’s day or week every so often (e.g. not hourly) as opposed to receiving constant lifestream micro-updates. Think of it as a sports “highlight” reel.

Why not just stop checking Twitter so often? Because then I spend a huge chunk of time having to filter through the mountain of messages that have piled up in the meantime. Even when followers are limited to friends and people who write about games and things you are genuinely interested in (and most of their tweets reflect this) and people who work on games that you like, the volume of signal becomes so high that it might as well be noise.

My natural response is to simply shut down and disconnect, which I am sorely tempted to do. If I were to do that, though, I’d miss out on some of the really neat stuff that only happens on Twitter – which is buried in a mountain of other things. This really neat stuff leads to a lot of fascinating and informative discoveries and it would be a shame if I were to forgo those things for the sake of reducing mental clutter. I’ve also come to understand that some people read blog posts via Twitter messages rather than using a blog reader. Unlinking myself from this service would then deprive me of the opportunity to spam as many people as possible with my words.

Might not be such a bad thing.

Others have written about this before, and I’ve read about it. It’s just never struck me until now exactly how much of my time is consumed by micro-checking micro-updates rather than being present in the present and taking time later when things aren’t happening to sit down with a cup of coffee and read all of the things. Preferably after those things have been organized. If there’s one thing I can really appreciate after a little over a year of blogging, it’s that organizing one’s thoughts in a presentable manner for others is crucial in crafting a quality message. Twitter is like a giant bin with the individual sentences of a novel written down on index cards and thrown in at random.

Blaugust 2015 Initiative Page

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9 thoughts on “Blaugust 2015, Day 24 – Information Overload

  1. I have my Twitter sorted fairly well, but it is the first thing I cut out when I get busy or overloaded. I hate missing out on conversations there, but I just can’t take having a steady supply of data to sift from every conceivable angle of my life every day!

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  2. Oh, yea. Not only am i not on Twitter, i also closed my Facebook account, never to return. I spend enough time gaming, and gaming i do enjoy. Facebook and Twitter on the other hand are time hogs which felt like work (albeit without any revenue) to me, so i got rid of them. My lines of communication among my friends are established, i am easily reached via eMail and by Skype, that works and is enough. And for my personal information needs, stuff on twitter is short lived. If something is not important enough to make it outside of twitter, it also is not important enough to waste my time.

    Of course, that makes me a “exotic” in this world, but it works and helps a lot. 🙂

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    1. I think communication via e-mail, at least ’round these parts, is obsolescent within the younger population. I’ve already ditched Facebook due to their cannibalistic marketing practices. The only thing I was using it for was communication with relatives…I suppose they DO need a way to contact me, though. That’s what I think I’d like to use Twitter for – direction communication rather than as a social time-waster.

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  3. This was how it was for me before I started using Tweetdeck. I don’t know if there’s something like that for the phone, but Tweetdeck allows you to filter folks based on the groups you put them in.

    That means you can sort people into columns and organize how information is displayed to you. I put all my blogger friends into a blogger friend column, for example, and other misc gaming info into a second column. Folks who are gamers but not bloggers have their own spot. Folks who play FFXIV have their own list, too. You can fave certain users so that you’re alerted especially anytime those particular people post, too.

    I really couldn’t Twitter without it.

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  4. That’s a rough version of why I’m not on Twitter. Does anyone remember Yahoo Groups? I guess they were closer to G+ circles than Twitter but the effect was similar. I was in a couple and it got to the point where it was taking two hours after work every day just to go through the accrued chatter. I was pretty pleased to get free from that and I’m very wary of getting back into anything similar.

    That’s one of the many good things about blogs – pretty much no-one can put out a dozen posts a day.

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    1. I’m about ready to ditch Twitter, either altogether or as a socialization platform (limited to Direct Messages only). I’d like to have a way for friends to contact me directly and with immediacy.

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  5. Think I need to sort my twitter as well, there is soooo much stuff going on there, and half of it doesn’t really interest me, and the other half I often miss out on because of the trail of info there is there. I really want to follow what’s going on but I don’t want to unfollow either in case I miss something from them as well. It’s an annoying dilemma heh.

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    1. The issue of balancing interesting information with Too Much Stuff seems to be a common theme for many people. I wish I could just absorb all the things in the universe. It’s a pity my brain is so small.

      Liked by 1 person

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