This has been on my mind the past few weeks already. When I say information pollution, I'm not talking about environmental pollution per se — not the pollution that comes from running the servers that store information. That's still pollution, but not the kind of pollution I've been thinking about. When I say information pollution, I mean this constant overflow of information from various sources in our daily lives, but mostly from online.
There's the news on TV and the internet. There's all the status updates, photos, memes and everything else from social media timelines and feeds. There's the never-ending blog posts from all over the internet. And everyone and their grandma is running some kind of email newsletter campaign nowadays. There's so much information floating around us. I feel like they take the form of needles, each one trying to prick my brain. Each one trying to make its way in. Each one trying to take my attention. Each one trying to take a bit of my time.
Okay, so that's my first problem. What's the second problem? The second problem is the quality of the content around us.
It wouldn't be all that bad if the information in our vicinity was good, actionable, useful, relevant information. But most of the time they are not. Most of the time they are not actionable. Most of the time they are not useful, we just happened to read them because the title seemed
enticing misleading interesting. Most of the time the content is not relevant to us. And we usually only find out they are not relevant, after having spent time reading through the whole post.
In other words, most of the content online that parades as information, are really just throwaway pieces. They are just getting dumped out onto the internet, day after day. And it turns the internet into this big giant landfill containing news, status updates, blog posts, photos, tweets and whatever else kind of content that people can come up with.
So, overflow of information, plus low quality of content equals information pollution.
This doesn't mean that there aren't any good sources of quality information out on the internet. I'm just saying they are getting hard to find, because hello information pollution. You have to wade through so much crap, to find good, actionable, useful, relevant information.
This blog is no exception by the way. Surely one way or another, someone will run into this post somewhere on the internet. Is the information here good, actionable, useful, relevant information? I hope so, but that's not for me to say. I just hope this post wasn't causing information pollution on your end.
The bigger question is, did you end up on this post because of information pollution, or did you actively search for information and found a link to this post? I'd rather you found this post because you searched for something related to it. Not because it was shoved down your throat.
And I guess that's where I'm trying to go with this. I want less force feeding of information, less mindless status updates, less random blog posts, less misleading, click-bait headlines, less information pollution overall. Less is more.
I want higher quality content, regardless of how long or short a blog post is.
I want less of what you ate for breakfast and more of why is that breakfast good for you or me.
I want more descriptive titles that actually match the contents of the post. So I don't have to read through the whole thing to find out I learned nothing.
I want less selfies and more useful information like, where are you taking the selfie from? Why are you there? What's good to do there, other than taking selfies of course?
I want people to think more before they publish something online, myself included.
I want more of people searching for information intentionally. And when they do, I want them to get back good, actionable, useful, relevant information.
To give credit where credit is due, my thoughts on this topic were partly inspired by this post from Scott Nesbit.