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September 13, 2012
What Information Overload?
 
The next time you hear that people are "drowning in information" in these computer-powered times, be mindful of a study by Northwestern University that says information overload is bunk — "Very few Americans feel bogged down or overwhelmed by the volume of news and information at their fingertips and on their screens." Feeling better now?

Instead of feeling as though they're drowning in information, the 77 people in seven focus groups assembled around the country by Northwestern had "near-unanimous enthusiasm about the new media environment." In short, people seem to be coping well with the digital information deluge. It's giving them new sources of information that they regard more highly than their old ones, says Northwestern's study.

The message here for PR pros is to be extra mindful of the quality of the content you produce. People are apparently quite discriminating about what to read and trust, prideful, even, of their ability to recognize what appeals to them. Ordinary Americans seem to be coping better with the "big data" flow that we wrote about recently than PR people who have much to keep up with on behalf of their clients. 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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