Americans Tend To Like Information Overload, Study Says

Information overload is a term that is often used to describe the sheer amount of data that we normally consume through TV, web and other sources. Today, an average internet user has a dozen or so resources to obtain information from. This could inevitably lead to overloaded circuits. Yet, according to a recent study conducted by Northwestern University, most of the Americans feel excited about it, rather than feeling the strain of an information overload.

Information overload

During the course of the study, 77 participants from all over U.S. were included in seven focus groups. These participants were having vacations in Las Vegas when they were invited by the research team to be a part of the study.

The aim of the study was to gauge how people feel about the sheer amount and sources of information that they have today. Is it overwhelming to consume so much information? Surprisingly, the study revealed, it is quite the contrary.

According to Eszter Hargittai, an associate professor of communication studies at Northwestern University, who was leading this study, “We found that the high volume of information available these days seems to make most people feel empowered and enthusiastic. People are able to get their news and information from a diverse set of sources and they seem to like having these options.”

Another interesting bit divulged by this study was that most people continued to depend on TV for most information, followed closely by websites. And most of them liked that they have multiple resources to acquire news and information from; the veracity of which they can then judge on their own.

Such diversity of sources has also, naturally, raised some questions about the quality of information available. For instance, cable TV operators were lambasted by the subjects in the study as depending upon sensationalism to sell their content.

Hargittai further says, “There’s definitely some frustration with the quality of some of the information available. But these frustrations were accompanied by enthusiasm and excitement on a more general level about overall media choices.”

Source: Northwestern University

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