December 22, 2008

Is it time to take an information fast?

I had lunch with a friend the other day who told me that she deleted her Facebook profile because it was too overwhelming being on the receiving end of all the messages, status updates, etc, etc.

Of course, I love Facebook but I do understand the state of overwhelm she felt.

I do believe that with any information, you can choose how much of it you want to absorb and how frequently you want to absorb that information.

Let's look at some examples of taking control of information overwhelm:

  1. I can't imagine having Facebook and Twitter updates coming through to my cell phone - it would drive me crazy. What I do is I only let direct messages to me, event requests and writing on my wall come through to my email.
  2. I turn my cell phone on silent the entire weekend so that I can choose when I feel like checking messages or voice mail.
  3. The only bits of news I hear every day are the 2 - 3 minute snippets on the top of the hour on my favourite news station, 702. I figure if something's really important, someone will tell me about it.
  4. We only switch on the TV to watch specific programmes, or if we're not at home, we record the programmes and when we watch them, we fast forward over the ads.
  5. If I find I'm not reading 4 in a row of someone's newsletter, I unsubscribe because I can honestly say my entire month is not that busy that I can't read at least one. So if I don't read any, then I know it's time to take a fast from that particular information. I tell myself, "it may be good but it's not good for me right now."
  6. And of course, I've spoken about blogging overload here and here.
Have you considered taking an information fast? What will you start with first?

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Lazygal said...

You forgot to mention that you can turn all the notifications for Facebook off - you only see new information when you go to the site. I've pared my notifications for everything down to "when I choose to see/read" rather than "when they choose to send me". Very helpful.

Janet Barclay said...

I've been blogging about my "information diet" for the last few months. Since I'm on Facebook every day I'm on my computer, I don't have anything come to me by email. For Twitter, only direct messages and new followers, but I have a rule to put the new follower notifications in a folder which I only look at when I have the time and desire. I've unsubscribed from practically every newsletter I was getting.

I can't keep up with all the blogs in my RSS feed, so I'm noticing which ones I'm not really into, and gradually deleting them too, though I'm not in a big panic about those.

Marcia Francois said...

@lazygal thanks for sharing your tip - yes, I just wrote the first things that flew into my head :) Love your "name"

@janet love your system and how serious you are about eliminating electronic clutter!

Paula Constable said...

Great post. I still feel new to social networking and so I tend to be very limiting on my time with Facebook and next to nothing with Twitter (still figuring that one out). I do, however, want to develop a clear routine or allowance for social networking for the New Year.

I have found that too much info makes me feel like I am behind on tasks when really no action is required. I think that's called anxiety.