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There Is Too Much Information

How much information is there?

In 2010, Eric Schmitt, former CEO of Google hit us over the head with this statistic:

“Every 2 days we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003″.

How fast is information growing?

In the year 2011 information is doubling roughly every 11 hours. This is according to some statistics I’ve seen cited from IBM, Gartner and Accenture.

Here is an oversimplified illustration that shows you what’s happening:

Pace of Information Growth

In just a week, there will be 250 times more information then there was in all of human history. Again this is over simplified and not entirely accurate but the point is that information growth is completely out of control.

Why is information growing so fast?

In very simple terms, its because its faster, cheaper, and easier than ever before to create information.  In addition software and devices are creating a lot of this information automatically.

What is the result?

As anyone who has ever done a web search can attest to, faster, cheaper and easier often leads to lower quality.

What can we do about it?

For starters you can start using a lifecycle approach to your information. This means you’ll need to decide when your information has come to the end of its life and either archive or delete it for good.

The greater concern I have about the information explosion is that good quality information is buried among the plethora of low quality information. The best way to combat this is to have your information professionally designed to make it more desirable to consume and increase its usability as well as its findabilty. This is essential if you want your information to accomplish your goal whatever it might be – to inform, instruct, explain, entertain or sell.

UPDATE: A 2011 study of leading marketers by IBM (questioning 1700 CMOs) found that “data explosion” is one of 4 key challenges marketers are facing. Here is an exert:
“Data explosion: Every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data – so much that 90 percent of the world’s data today has been created in the last two years alone. The increasing volume, variety and velocity of data available from new digital sources like social networks, in addition to traditional sources such as sales data and market research, tops the list of CMO challenges.”

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