Thursday, 3 December 2009

Information Overload

Bishop Alan’s blog ( today has given me some new thoughts about finding time. He questions how the Church should react to the new media. How or even should the Church position itself to take advantage of the new communication capabilities. What new training or skill development is needed. Which of these technologies could be used to advantage. The entry reminded me of Alvin Toffler’s ‘Future Shock’ written in 1970 in which he forecast that as society develops from a industrial to a informational one, the rate of change of things will continue to increase and people will become increasingly disconnected and suffering from future shock. We’ve certainly seen the rate of change of technology and communication increasing relentlessly: I spoke on this blog about change in January. I quoted £4 for 1Gb memory card; today 2Gb costs £4.50 and 4Gb £7.50. That’s about doubling in a year. And next year?

Toffler also invented the term ‘Information Overload’ which well defines my problem in finding time for Christmas. I googled this and found a Guardian article – but this had been removed from the web because the copyright had expired (that’s a whole new theme!) The comments seem to endorse the problem.

The trick seems to be to find the right way of using the technology. Undoubtedly there are benefits: I still quote one of my computer friends’ Christmas e-mails. I had helped her set up her webcam and skype and she e-mailed me on 25th December that she had just successfully skyped to her family in New Zealand – great. I can remember some 35 years ago we had the son of a French friend to stay with us to improve his English. We had to book a telephone to Paris to tell his parents he had arrived safely.

However, I don’t seem to have mastered this trick. Phone calls are successful but the e-mails are stacking up. Today wasn’t helped by a long unproductive call to the tax man but the less said about that the better.

So no new actions for tomorrow but perhaps a better understanding of the problem.

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