What to do with an abundance of information?

“In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.” – Herbert Simon

It’s an interesting perspective on the abundance of data and news presented to us each day. Although, we don’t have to watch our attention consumed by the information when we choose to be intentional curators for our own brains.

My own curation guidelines (feel free to steal):

  1. When presented with the bad things that are happening, does the piece of information perform any of the fallacies mentioned in 5 Ways To Stay Sane In An Era Of Non-Stop Outrage? If not, it may be allowed space in my psyche.
  2. Is the information productive? Is it something I can rely on at happy hour to change the conversation away from kitchen decorations to the latest minerals discovered at asteroid impact sites? Or is it something I can use to organically repel pests from my vegetable garden? Is it something worth the 15 minutes away from my son to write to my Senator about? If so, it can stay.
  3. Is it inclusive, or does it polarize? Inclusive content can stay, particularly when it offers understanding / insight to a different perspective from the one the author has. (<– There’s a link here. If you click any link, I hope you click this one and read it! It holds an amazing story for you.)
  4. Does it create fear or does it empower? We always have a choice somewhere in the midst of perceived chaos. If content makes me feel otherwise, it isn’t allowed.

In all honesty, I created this list off the top of my head. I mean, I really do abide by these guidelines, but I’m sure something can be added or edited. Thoughts? Additions? Point number 5 is, content that creates genuine conversations can stay.

 

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