I hear it a lot when I am waxing poetic about Social Media, Too Much Information. Not direct at me of course, but about the general topic. People look at the Internet, in general, and Social Media, in particular, and all they see is an avalanch of information.

Reading Stowe Boyd’s post this morning, Cult Of Productivity: We Know He’s Lying, But Who Cares?, got me thinking again about the whole idea of how we (humans) process information, and is there really such a thing as TMI?

 I think not.

Go back 10 years, 50 years, 100 years, 500 years. Throughout history we have introduced new ways to gather and distribute information; printing press, telegraph, phone, TV, Internet. At each step people complained about too much information.

Now think about it, before all of that, we as humans had to process our daily environment. Can you recall everything you have seen today? Of course not. Our brains already filter the massive amount of information we already receive from our senses. We “see” what we need to see, we “hear” what we need to hear.

Then why is it that we all of a sudden believe that we have to process every email, and every page of every report that crosses our desk? What it is we need is better ways to filter and notice what is important.

There is never TMI, just the myth that we have to process it all.

As to Stowe’s commentary, I agree, being stupid about how we filter information is no way to go through life.