Recently read an insightful book called “The Information Diet: A Case for Concious Consumption” by Clay Johnson (2012). Using the current food/obesity epidemic as an analogy, Johnson highlights the problems with our current pattern of information consumption. Some alarming things really come out of this book including how the over-consumption of information:
- impacts our autonomic nervous system (i.e., how email or Facebook alerts change our breathing patterns)
- impacts our understanding of topics, which can lead to biases and poor decision making
- changes how we behave as a collective group including our ability to collaborate with individuals holding conflicting ideas
I think most can attest to the disruption information can cause in our personal and professional lives. Smartphone’s have converged our information streams, making email, social media, RSS feeds, etc conveniently centralized and easily accessible. As great as it is to have information readily available, conscious decision making is required by individuals to control and efficiently use the content we consume. This doesn’t mean just setting up filters, but also to question the source and added processing of the information.
While Johnson cites his experience working within American politics, I tried to relate his ideas to the experience of hockey fans. Sports fans are different than fans of other genres such as movies, films and literature as they have been found to engage with the game before, during and after live events (Gantz et al, 2006). With so many sources of information and so much to do with it, including fantasy league participation, gambling and blogging, fans are vulnerable to information over-consumption. The information can be disruptive to fans day-to-day lives and impact their mental state and decision making. Then again, “fans” is, in fact, short for “fanatics”.
With the NHL Draft passing by and the start of free agency on July 1, I would love to hear the experience and tactics of fans dealing with the abundant information.
Gantz, W., Wang, Z., Paul, B. & Potter, R.F. (2006). Sports versus all comers: comparing TV sports fans with fans of other programming genres. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 50(1), p. 95-118.
Johnson, C. (2012). The Information Diet: A Case for Conscious Consumption. USA: O’Reilly Media
Infovegan (SuperFan 2.0)
Importance of Hockey Analytics (Hockey in Society)
Information Malnutrition (National Post)