How can you exploit information overload to your advantage?

Thanks to the Google Trap, the world is awash with too much free and useless information and updates, resulting in indecisive procrastination and analysis paralysis. For your businesses, the implication is lost sales as potential customers procrastinate indefinitely. What can you do in response?

To answer this question, let’s take a look at how some people cope with information overload. Personally, as an information junkie and a technologist, the solution is to use technology to solve this problem. Specifically, I use a tool called the “RSS Reader” to keep up with all the developments and updates that is happening in this universe. For those who are unfamiliar with this, an RSS Reader is basically software that checks for new content continuously from various sources (websites) and present them in a centralised location for you to scan through in bulk. Without this technology, you will have to visit the various sources manually one by one and rely on your memory to pick out the new updates. If you need to keep up with only a few sources, then you don’t need this technology. But what if you want to keep up with hundreds of sources? Without an RSS Reader, this is an impossible task.

For me, I personally keep up with hundreds of sources. As a RSS veteran, I realised one thing: a lot of information updates on the Internet are redundant, repeated and worth very little. I can see with a bird’s eye view of the Google Trap at work. With years of practice, I’ve learnt to quickly filter out vast swathe of updates and become very efficient at mass headline scanning and picking out the really important ones.

But seriously, how many people in this world are like me? How do people cope?

On one end, some people cope by pinning back their ears and following only a few sources, forums and people they trust. On the other end, some don’t cope at all and have no systematic way of making sure they get informed—it’s all down to chance and luck when they surf the net. Most people, I suspect lie in between these two ends.

Herein, lay an opportunity for you. If you are already pretty much up to date on what’s going on for a specific domain or industry, you are already implicitly filtering out the digital noise for yourself. That in itself is very valuable. Many people are dying to have digital noise filtered for them because they simply have no time and inclination to dredge out tons of noise just to find a few gems. If you keep that to yourself, you are missing out a big opportunity in serving and providing value to others. What are you doing to unlock this value in yourself? How can you do that?

About the author

I am a Technology Consultant, whose passion is to help small businesses reach their full potential through mastery of digital technologies, strategies and marketing.