Information overload is one of the defining trends of the last 10 years. The explosion of email, social media, and cellular technologies have created 24/7 leashes that drown us in information.
As publishers (and citizens) we have a responsibility to help today’s kids build good information habits in this new world.
I’ve written elsewhere about how our old behavior patterns make this worse than it needs to be. The question for today is – are you managing your information diet or is the information managing you?
When you sit down to your Cheerios tomorrow morning will you read the paper or will you read a book? In the paper you HOPE to learn something – anything really. If you have picked out a book you INTEND to learn something – something specific you can use.
It is the same 30 minutes a day but at the end of a month the newspaper reader will have garnered some gossip and a few insights along with recycled conventional wisdom on the editorial pages. The book reader will have challenged their thinking in some very specific ways that will help them grow, learn, and help others.
There is a place for randomness in your information diet – but with so much information at our fingertips today this can be a much smaller portion of our information diet than it used to be.
This is one small example of what the “low information diet” looks like. For those of us in the education publishing world we really have to start thinking about how we build these new skills into our products. This is doubly hard for us because most of us are built our habits in the old paradigm.
Try not reading the newspaper for the next two weeks and substituting something you have been wanting to learn but putting off. Check in with yourself at the end of the experiment and see how it went.
PS – Go ahead – read the funnies and do the crossword.