Digital diet anyone?

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Do we have too much information?

Yes, if you read this article from Professor Simona Botti at London Business School. I recently interviewed and ghost-wrote this short piece which throws up an entirely new idea; what if we have too much choice? But it’s this specific section I want to refer to:

“As customers and citizens, we’re surrounded by choice. Think about the number of choices we make every day – what health treatment to undergo, where to travel, how to customise our latest electronic device.

What if freedom of choice comes with too much information? We’re living in the digital era where information is cheap, so access is on the up. But how much information do we need? Do we really want to know whether our movements measured by a mobile phone will predict the likelihood that we’ll develop Parkinson’s disease?  Do we need to ask someone on a date just because an app tells us that we’re well matched and sat at the same bar? If we’re hungry, do we need to see all the restaurants within a five mile radius? Psychologically the cost of choice can be higher than we realise.”

And Professor Botti is certainly right. It’s hard to fight through all of the junk to get to a story, or feature (or blog post) that you actually want to read – and by the time you do, you can’t remember what you were searching for in the first place.

The consequence of more choice is that yes, people can make decisions to fit their specific needs, but what about situations where decision-making just instils pickiness?

Here’s an example. My very intelligent, witty and may I say beautiful friend is dipping her toe into the world of internet dating. But it’s a sad state of affairs when that very same friend received feedback on her texting ability. Yes. She was told off for “not using enough Emojicons”. Let me just intercept the flow of the anecdote with the Emojicon tag line: “Your one-stop plot of internet land for every ლ(╹◡╹ლ), ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, ಠ_ಠ, and (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ you can possibly imagine.”

When did words in a text message become just not good enough? What happened to phone calls and love letters, even an email has got to be better than sinking to the depths of replacing a thoughtful word or two with a fancy icon; hasn’t it?

I have been grabbed by the fear. The fear of too much digital information, too many social short cuts and far too much choice. Having said that, I just popped a thumbs-up icon, as I often do, into my text message. If you engage in a digital diet, I’ll join you too (I can keep my phone though, right?).

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