Created by WS-71, 2015

Information Diet—Essay 1

A theory regarding the transmission of a huge amount of data nowadays and the peoples ability to deal with it constructively

Did you know that people living in a western country take in approximately 100.000 words a day on average?! This means about 200 written letters. You are confronted with an immense amount of data transmitted worldwide every day by a lot of different media. But unfortunately you can normally just remember about 10 per cent of these information! As you can imagine, you should take care of the sort of information that you consume.

Especially because data can easily be used as a tool in order to influence your behaviour as a worthy consumer, for example by advertisers. Social media like facebook are able to create individual advertising for each user because of their prior user – behaviour.

But the real problem is not the high number of available information. In fact people suffer from overconsumption of information, which leads to ignorance regarding important things in your life and the society. You can hardly capture the essence of given information.

By the way, the quick information exchange enabled by this century is not basically a bad thing. You have to take a deeper look in order to jugde the situation.

In order to prevent a so – caused “overweight” the theory uses words and expressions having an actual relation to nutrition. The comparison to nutrition helps to explain the problematic overconsumption.

First of all it is to say that you have to distinguish between good and bad information. The good, “healthy” information do not lead to any problems. They are like healthy food. You cannot really get enough of them and they do normally not cause any kind of problems (to your body or your mind).

On the other hand, bad information will make trouble. You can compare them to junk – food. If you eat too much junk – food you will get overweight. You also have to underline that it is easier to get junk – food instead of preparing a healthy meal. It is easier to consume it and it is provided almost everywhere. You can compare fast – food restaurant or the high number of junk – food in supermarkets to advertising, amusing tv – shows, gutter press or just daily small talk – there are so many different sources of unnecessary information which you can not easily handle.

This led to a so – called overweight. To ensure or secure peoples ability to get useful information and to deal with important things in life a kind of filter is required. That filter can be regarded as a diet. A diet that would protect you from bad information which probably  influences your mind negatively. It is not about saving calories which lead to overweight. It is about getting “healthy” information regarding the information overload.

If you think about it shortly… do you realise how much “junk – information” you receive every day and where the actually come from? Which media do you use daily? How often are you online? Maybe you come to the conclusion of being a “digital junkie”!?  The introduced concept of the information diet could be a starting point to fix the overconsumption.

So how could it look like? How do you make an information diet? After you have internalised the main reasons for the consumption of less information you get an example of how an information diet could practically work:

You could filter the given information and rank categories like “very important”, “important”, “less important” and “unimportant”. So have got to make clear what is a useful (information) for your personal life and your individual goals in life. Lets say you are studying business and economics at university. What is the most important in your daily life in terms of information. If your are really interested in your graduation you should focus on learning. Regarding your aims it is very important to get useful information by your teachers or professor even though these kind of information can definitely not be regarded as “junk – food”. In order to concentrate on these very important information you could turn off your cell phone during lecture. Just try to avoid distraction. Be offline at least during important moments. Do not risk to get diverted by anything unimportant. Instead you could choose certain points of time for being online.

Apart from doing rankings you could try to explain the theory to your environment. Tell your friends, your family or your colleagues about your intentions. Probably they are not familiar with the information overload. You should try to get acceptance for your personal limitations. It is important to involve the people around you in order to prevent misunderstandings. Even though it should not be “normal” to be online continuously, your friend will probably get a wrong impression of your intention. Integrate them and let them take part so that everybody can profit. Let your friends know about your ranking or your chosen “online – time”. Maybe they are going to recognize all of the positive effects.

You could also determine certain times for “eating junk food”. After you have declared something as “junk – food”, for example a magazine, you can try to focus on important things first, e.g. books for your studies. You do not have to erase “junk – food” completely. But you should be able to define it and be aware of the difficulties. Eat yourself fill with healthy food (or books and important information) and regard the junk – food (or facebook and television) as a kind of dessert. Just try to keep less important things out of your head. Remember, you can just keep about 10 per cent of the received information in mind. Concentrate on important things first. Your capacity is limited. Figure out what is important or unimportant to you, what causes stress or what take too much of your personal energy.  

This text should show you the problem of information nowadays and it shows you possibilities to deal with it. If you have got an idea of the information diet you are able to control yourself and your environment. It could be a big chance to live your live more effectively and without being stressed. Good luck!