Americans Overloaded On The Internet

    December 11, 2009

No wonder I have had this feeling lately that I am always full and the waistline is expanding a bit. It’s all this information and data that I am ingesting on a daily basis. Boy, if only limiting my data intake time would make the waistline go away I’d be there in a heartbeat but I digress. We all know that the average person is taking in more information on a daily basis than ever before but just how much is too much?

According to the New York Times:

The average American consumes about 34 gigabytes of data and information each day — an increase of about 350 percent over nearly three decades according to a report published Wednesday by researchers at the University of California, San Diego.

According to calculations in the report, that daily information diet includes about 100,000 words, both those read in print and on the Web as well as those heard on television and the radio. By comparison, Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” contains about 460,000 words.

Phew! Sounds like a lot of stuff to stuff in. Now to be fair, this amount of information is not exclusively confined to the online space. The study looks at television, radio, the Web, text messages and video games. Now, I am not an online gamer so that last one has me a little bit confused since that activity often appears to serve the opposite effect of draining someone’s brain so feel free to yell at me and tell me I am wrong.

Television (another fine brain extraction tool which has done its damage on me over the years) takes up the first place in time committed daily that creates information overload clocking in at 5 hours a day.

Second is radio, which the average American listens to for about 2.2 hours a day. The computer comes in third, at just under two hours a day. Video games take up about an hour, and reading takes up 36 minutes.

While the report says that the printed word gets less attention the reality is that people are reading more than ever because of their online habits. Also, there is the phenomenon of much of this activity happening simultaneously as in texting while watching TV. It’s exhausting just thinking about it.

As Internet marketers these studies are important because there is just a ridiculous amount of competition for peoples’ attention. The resulting din of data and noise makes it even more important to find a way to get people at a time when THEY are ready to hear your message. The old intrusive selling model is growing less and less effective because people actually control their time more than ever as it relates to media. They engage when they want to engage where they want to engage. It used to be that you take what you get. Those days are gone.

So what is your technique to cut through the noise? Is the level of noise going to continue to increase thus making it more daunting to cut through or will there come a time when a person says “I can’t eat another gig!”

What’s your take?