|analytical Q||May-Aug 2000||Sept-Dec 2000||Contact||Discussion|
COMPETITION FOR ATTENTION
We face an ironic problem today. Too much information of the wrong kind. The electronic age of fax, email, Internet, telephone, and mobile phone has multipled the amount of "stuff" that demands our attention.
I used to be extremely helpful, giving information that I found interesting to my colleagues. When they didn't read it, I would summarise for them. When they didn't discuss it, I started to wonder if they understood the material at all?
Now I'm in that position. It's not that I don't understand it or don't appreciate it. The information given to me at a particular time is not the information I need at that time.
Relevance means the right information at the right time in the right quantity of the right quality. This is why search engines and research assistants are so useful.
All this information, from real-time to slow-time, from objective news to subjective magazine features, from dubious sources to reputable companies, are all competing for our attention. We in turn are competing for other people's attention.
Many people think the short cut is advertisement. Web sites glisten with rotating banner ads, animated graphics, pop-up windows. Magazines and newspapers are jammed with inserts that fall out when we open them. We get direct mail by snail mail and by email. We get spammed.
So the good information is now in direct competition with the bad. Aaaargh! When will this ever end?
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