We are in an information overload world. This is nothing new – even decades ago, we never had enough time to watch every news channel, read every newspaper or even keep up with every friend.
It is likely that Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press was the first significant step in the human race feeling like it could not keep up with all the communications circling the world.
The good news is that with the help of technology, we can now consume more information. Sadly, there are still only so many hours in a day and that rate of information consumption increase is nowhere near the rate of information being populated in print and on the internet.
In today’s electronic communications world, many have a more intense feeling that they cannot keep up with all the information that crashes over them like a 25-foot wave.
Too Many Words
Richard Saul Wurman, in his book Information Anxiety, shared that a weekday edition of the New York Times contains more information than the average person was likely to have come across in a lifetime in 17th-century England. Like Wurman’s book pointed out over three decades ago, we often have some level of anxiety that we are not digesting all the information we should be.
Today, to cope with information overload, society’s successful communicators have shifted away from long blocks of text, because we just do not have time or energy to absorb everything we see.
Social Media To The Rescue
While social networks are also a contributor to information overload, they are also a refreshing change.
Communications have shifted to be more direct and to the point. The popularity of text messages and a social network like Twitter, with its 140-character messages, are proof of this fact.
The saying "Use a picture. It's worth a thousand words." is credited to Arthur Brisbane who wrote an article in 1911 discussing journalism and publicity. His expression held a lot of truth then and even more now.
It is no wonder the thing that creates some of the highest levels of engagement on Facebook are pictures, especially photo albums. In most cases, a picture is going to get more likes, comments and shares than a post with just text.