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4 Supervillains of Learning: Digital Deluge

4 Supervillains of Learning: Digital Deluge

In my previous post, I listed the 4 supervillains of learning and gave a brief introduction to each of them. Now, I’m going to be talking about each of them in detail starting with DIgital Deluge.

Before I get into it, I want you to think with me for a second. If you were to choose to be a superhero, who would you choose? I would choose the Flash. I love that superhero character. I would like to be able to read through thousands of books in minutes. Wouldn’t you like that too? Now, just as Barry Allen was the superhero in the Flash, there were also supervillains and many times, more often than not, these supervillains started with good intentions, but along the line, the good in them becomes twisted and used for sinister ends.

The same applies to our learning. What had started as a means to make our lives better and more productive has turned out to be our undoing as well. Technology has given rise to distraction, forgetfulness, overload, etc and while technology is not the cause of these things, it possesses great potential to amplify them.

Digital Deluge

A simple definition of digital deluge is information overload. Have you ever felt like there is just so much information around and you can’t catch up?

Compared to the 15th century, we now consume as much data in a single day as an average person from the 1400s would have absorbed in an entire lifetime. Not so long ago, information moved glacially through word of mouth, a newspaper, or a posted bulletin in a town square. Now, we are privileged to live in a world with so much unfettered access to information. Science reports that the average person today consumes almost three times as much information as what the typical person consumed in 1960.

New York Times also reports that the average computer user checks 40 websites a day and can switch programs 36 times an hour.

Information is infinite and the sooner we realise that there is a flood of information and no matter how hard we try, we cannot keep abreast of every single piece of information, the better for us.

Adverse Effects of Digital Deluge

Information has become so accessible that it is taking a toll on our time and the quality of our lives. Some of the adverse effects of digital deluge are listed below:

Stress and Anxiety

Science has associated stress and anxiety with information overload. You see, the reason for that stress might be information overload, where you feel like there is just so much going on around you and you are left out. All you need might just be what Jim Kwik calls white space.

You become less efficient

Have you ever woken up determined to be focused and have a productive day, but ended up being distracted probably by an email? You thought to yourself, I’ll just check this email and continue with my tasks but you ended up in a whirl of information, clicking links upon links until a better part of the day was gone. This is exactly what digital deluge does. There is just so much information to keep tabs on that if we are not careful we end up being inefficient and unproductive.

Bad Decisions about Important Things

Multitasking can involve a lot of fast, little decisions which later sum up to a big bad decision. Another way to look at it is that we have been presented with so much access to information, we now lack the ability to think for ourselves and allow technology to do the thinking for us. This is another supervillain termed digital deduction.

How to Handle Digital Deluge

Perform this simple task to help you overcome digital deluge.

Take a moment and schedule 30 minutes of white space in your calendar for this week. This is time to be spent away from technology, time dedicated to clearing your mind, relaxing, and being creative.

Although there are more advanced ways to deal with digital deluge, performing this simple task as often as possible will help you reduce stress, and anxiety and maintain your mental health.

What do you think about digital deluge? Please share in the comment section.

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