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Digital Natives: experiencing information

The Digital Natives blog's theme-of-the-week is information overload! a timely topic in light of the finding that, in 2008, the Internet overtook newspapers as a source of campaign news.

On Monday, Digital Natives intern Diana Kimball looked at two types of overload—one a positive side-effect of curiosity, the other a guilt-inducing deluge of information:

It is definitely possible to feel overloaded—even overwhelmed—by the amount of information that streams past on the internet. This feeling of overload can derive, though, from two quite different experiences of information: rabbit-holes and spigots. My friends and I often joke about the peril of Wikipedia—you fact-check one tiny thing, and before you know it you’re down the rabbit-hole. And there go the next few hours. CONTINUED...

Today, Sarah Zhang discusses social media overload asks whether there are strategies for dealing with it and with collisions between online social and professional networking:

When I was shopping around for a new phone earlier this fall, I was tempted to make the leap. With my inbox bursting at its seams and daily texting on the rise, I needed a better way to deal with it all. I decided: it’s time to get a smartphone! I would finally join the Crackberry craze…and man, that iPhone is pretty...

But I ultimately decided against it. One look at prices did push me toward second thoughts though there also another, more important consideration: Would I just be a little too connected? Do I really need my email to follow me around on the bus? In the dining hall? On the treadmill? The nearly infinite nature of the Internet has created information overload, and the proliferation of social networking sites has also propagated a kind of social information overload. CONTINUED...

For more on information overload check out chapter 8 of John Palfrey and Urs Gasser's Born Digital, and join the conversation with the Digital Natives team and others via the Digital Natives site, where you'll find links to the project wiki, blog, YouTube channel, and many other social tools and resources like the Born Digital responses page.

John and Urs have been out and about discussing Born Digital all fall. Next Wednesday, November 12, John will be giving a book talk at Google Chicago. We invite our friends in the Windy City to join him! (RSVP required.)

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