The more, the best?

In these recent years, as communication systems advanced, we have been constantly ‘bombarded’ with information from different sources.

With the advent of the Internet we don’t only get news from radio, television or printed newspapers, but we also have e-mail, web pages, blogs, Google and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Flickr and others, just to mention some of the most successful examples, as well as the mobile phone connectivity, and its many applications, (SMS, instant messaging…), communication systems at work, and many channels that deliver messages daily, surrounding us with big mass of information that we are often unable to control or process.

This saturation of content is called ‘Infoxication’, (a term invented by the physicist and communication expert Alfons Cornella Solans, who a decade ago predicted its impact on the future of communications).

The origin of this disorder seems to be due to the information overdose that is generated and received daily, since it is impossible to process in its entirety. This is where the trouble to cover all types of content and messages begins, producing a mental exhaustion that could trigger anxiety, confusion, isolation and even lead to the collapse.

According to some experts in neurology, the stress produced by information overload in a person greatly affects the brain and can lead to the development of other neurological diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. So it seems that, while the Internet has contributed to numerous advances in communication, it has also a secondary effect on users, producing this Infoxication.

According to some studies, these are some of the main symptoms of infoxication:

• Decreased ability to socialize outside the technological means.

• Failure to disconnect from technology, even in times of leisure and entertainment.

• Isolation of the real world. The infoxicated person believes that only by doing that will be able to catch up on the tasks remaining to be done.

• Loss of concentration at work and studies. No matter how much we want, it is impossible to cover everything at once.

• The feeling that all incoming messages are essential. The idea of not being able to address them in time causes distress.

• Irritability with others because of accumulated mental exhaustion.

• Anxiety and despair in front of a computer or network failure, because you tend to think that every minute you are missing valuable information.

Looking at all these symptoms, some may conclude that information overload causes significant psychological and social effects on the individual.

However, some authors have designed strategies to prevent infoxication:

• Select the relevant information, assess the quality of content and filter out only the information regarding your personal and professional interest.

• Use aggregators to search and store the interesting data, and never waste time in selecting information, because it will be already organized.

• Set a time limit on your navigation without wasting time in other contents, you will be more productive.

• If you are subjected to a huge amount of data at work, try to disconnect in your free time. Rest your mind or do other activities.

• Rethink the real priorities in life, only then you will realize that you do not need to keep up on the Internet, or social networks to live a meaningful life.

• Reduce non necessary communication. Disconnect the phones in the leisure time, turn off the TV at family gatherings, read less the newspaper and rest of the computer for at least ten minutes a day.

• Give preference to human relations and contact with nature. Take a nap (yeah!), relax, breathe fresh air, lying on the lawn, going for walks and other activities that contribute to desinfoxication.

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