Information overload is the inability to make decisions because of the availability of a lot of data. Being exposed to a lot of information can hamper your ability to make decisions and this is information overload. We are living in a society where we are constantly exposed to a lot of data. We begin our days by either reading a newspaper or scrolling through our mobile phones. In this span of time, we encounter a large amount of information which are hard to take in. However, this has become inevitable in our lives as we are living on these data.
This information overload has existed since the time of the renaissance. Bertram Gross, a political science professor at Hunter College, coined the term in the year 1964 in his work The Managing of Organizations. However, the term was later popularized by the American writer and futurist Alvin Toffler in his work Future Shock (1970).
“Information overload occurs when the amount of input to a system exceeds its processing capacity. Decision makers have fairly limited cognitive processing capacity. Consequently, when information overload occurs, it is likely that a reduction in decision quality will occur”
This is the definition put forth by Bertram Gross.
Studies have shown that information overload affects the attention span of people. With the availability of this large amount of information, people tend to lose interest in reading information that is not interesting and they get distracted very easily. Because of this over-availability of information, it becomes hard for people to come to conclusions and they tend to make wrong decisions. Hence, it is important to be media literate to analyze data and take in the information that is relevant and important for oneself.