A million times, this:
You hear a lot of talk about information overload, but I don’t feel the amount of information is the problem. For me, the problem comes in with the emotional investment demanded by real-time, and the ultimate toll it can take on your productivity, or just general happiness and well-being. You can see this play out in everything from expectations that you should respond to emails, all the way to social network memes getting your attention when it comes to the election, or for me personally, the concerns around security and privacy using technology.
I’ve definitely been feeling this fatigue more lately. Describing it as a “real-time toll” is a good way to look at it. It’s definitely not information overload – it’s sensory and emotional overload as a result of a flood of realtime demands on attention and connection.
I am actively reducing the number of real-time platforms/connections/whatevers that I pay attention to, and am actively trying to do as much as I can on my own schedule. RSS is on my schedule. Checking and responding to email is on my schedule. Twitter/Facebook/etc are more real-time environments, so I’m reducing the amount of time I spend there.
Update: the Related Posts feature pulled up this post from 2008. “Real-time toll” is a perfect way to describe what I was getting at back then:
Every time I read an update by someone that I care about, I think about that person – if only for a second – and my sense of connection is strengthened.
These are all concerning avenues for users. Adding advertising tends to mean user privacy is compromised, as ads become increasingly targeted by the day; shutting a company down means all user data gets removed, and it’s up to each user to find a new product or service to fill the hole. Rinse and repeat.
Arguably worse is when the company and all attached user data is acquired. There’s very little control any user has over that decision: they may like the original product, but are uncomfortable with the new owner. These decisions are impossible to foresee: if you signed up for Flickr ten years ago, or Tumblr five years ago, would you be expecting your photos and blog posts to end up in the hands of Verizon today?
Source: Don’t Cry for Yahoo — Pixel Envy
We see the same thing in education. Hopefully, a vendor is successful and things go smoothly. But, corporate (or open source) failures, acquisitions, or changes of terms will all impact what happens to student data.
We need to make sure we own our data, or at the very least have workable backups and/or exports that can be quickly spun up if things go south.