Information overload is a topic which has seen enough blog and article time to provide a generous amount of information overload on its own! As an example, I searched Google for the term “information overload” and it returned the first 10 of approximately 2,160,000 “hits” (…but who’s counting? 🙂 No wonder we need data warehouses! I figure that is probably a bit more information than this modest man can (or wants) to handle – yet of course as I scanned that first page of “hits” I had to check out a couple of them.
One of the hits that I followed in particular caught my attention and prompted me to both chuckle to myself and to think about my own habits. A blog response from Noam Chomsky really started me thinking — in response to a question about tips for handling information overflow he replied: “I wish I could answer sensibly. I just can’t. You should see the room in which I’m working. Piles of books, clippings, manuscripts, notes,… All sorts of lost treasures buried in them.” Sound familiar?
His response really brought home to me that my habits of saving information, whether it be printed material, sound clips, email or internet links encourages my sometimes overwhelming “buried” feeling – information overload is alive and well in my life, as well as “…all sorts of lost treasures…”!
Now, to get to the real point of this post — as a developer I believe that it is in my clients best interest to support them in providing the information they need to forward their businesses – whatever that is. It is very easy for me to provide them with too much information (…some say there can never be enough) in the form of reports, graphs and miscellaneous on-line “views” of their data. However, I believe that it is a “key” responsibility of mine to constantly be aware of the tendency toward “information overload”.