"Information overload refers to the state of having too much information to make a decision or remain informed about a topic." (Wikipedia) "Effects of too much information include anxiety, poor decision-making, difficulties in memorizing and remembering and a reduced attention span." () Large amounts of currently available information, a high rate of new information being added/changed, contradictions in available information and inefficient methods for comparing and processing information all contribute to information overload.
- Large amount of information available: the internet, mobile telephones, broadband connections, e-books, spam, e-mail and other communication media et cetera. (Thus, information overload is strongly enabled by technological advances.)
- High rate of change: adding and adjusting information is easier than ever, resulting in even more loss of control for the end user.
- Signal-to-noise-ratio: the proportion of useful information (which really fullfil your information need) in all available information diminishes.
- Inefficient information tools: thousands of information sources, information often contradicts other information and so on, makes it very complicated for users.
- More efficient information tools: portals, price comparing websites, better search engines et cetera do have substantial value for users of information (i.e. consumers).
- Information overload is a feel. It gives people the feel of loosing control.
- Since information overload is psychological, it differs from person to person.
- People tend to think: information is good, the more information I get, the better the decisions I take will be.
- The overload might result in resistance to take and process even more information ().
- Much information nowadays answer questions which aren't asked yet ().
Started to grow exponentially after WW2; parallel to advances in information and communication technology. This trend will continue, however, there also will be advances (e.g. better search engines, specialized web portals, content managers) which will - at least partially - give back control to the users of information.