I recently read an interesting Newsweek article titled “I can’t think!”, where Eric Kessler, a management expert at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, noted that “We’re fooled by immediacy and quantity and think it’s quality“. The article, which focuses upon this statement: “The Twitterization of our culture has revolutionized our lives, but with an unintended consequence—our overloaded brains freeze when we have to make decisions“.
While I strongly recommend reading the article in its entirety the core message is that the information overload is often detrimental and actually reduces the effectiveness of our decision-making. Does this mean that social media and citizen engagement platforms are to be avoided? Absolutely not. It does mean, however, that we need to find better ways to manage the millions of signals in our networks, to reduce them into manageable higher level meaning. How we automate the collection of data, and the aggregation of data into useful information, is the key challenge to be overcome. Those that do this well will find themselves successful. Those that don’t will simply be lost in the stream of data, unable to make smart decisions, unable to lead us into the future.