Information Overload

The topic I chose to write on today was Information Overload.  The term was first popularized by Alvin Toffler and is equated to the difficulties presented when an individual has to make a decision based on a steadily increasing amount of data. The steady stream of information keeps the individual from ever getting to the point of resolution, thus creating a log-jam of pertinent information that cannot be disseminated quickly enough to arrive at an immediate plan of action. (1) Here is where the story begins…

When I first began my career in publishing, the Internet was something the military was working on and not a public information network as it is today.  The file cabinets (where I worked) were full of contracts, purchase orders and printed job estimates in “hard copy” format.  The office worked well based on the transfer of all of this paperwork, but more innovation was necessary to eliminate the wasted time that occurred in getting paperwork sent from point A to point B.  Also, generating the paperwork was a time waster as well.  The advent of the Fax machine was a boon for the publishing operations.  I remember sending a fax to Tokyo back in the late 1980’s and marveling at how revolutionary this advance in technology seemed to be.  The transfer was instantaneous and if someone was on the other end waiting, you could get a turnaround answer in a few minutes.  This was unbelievable, but the paperwork was still too much to handle and managers yearned for the paperless office that was forecast at the dawn of the tech and computer age in the late 1970s and early 1980s.


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