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Nicolle posted in: Business

They say information is power, but what if you have too much information? Remember the good old days when information and knowledge were found in a newspaper, you used to watch the news and if you wanted to brush up on an interest or hobby you bought a book about it? If you wanted information about what was going on locally in your area there was always a wealth of knowledge to be transferred orally; normally between men sipping pints in the local pub. Things were simple back then, Twitter was what birds did and business was conducted at the speed of Royal Mail or Fax machines.

Now I am not saying progress is a bad thing but information overload is. Today we have more power in a Smartphone than NASA used to land a man on the moon and we literally drown in our personal lives and at work with too much data to assimilate. Apologies to all non Star Trek fans but much like the Borg we are expected to assimilate, adapt and be part of a collective that is driven by the power of the Internet. The result of all this, however, is in reality that people only actually take in 15-20% of this information at work and because we receive too many E-Mails many of them are not properly read or indeed acted on. I remember working at Computer Associates many years ago (often compared to the Borg but that is a different story) and they employed middle managers to receive E-Mails from the mother ship in the US and seemingly just click a forward button on their E-Mail type in "fyi" at the top and send out some awfully boring and irrelevant mail that neither helped Sales people or made them more efficient.

This is not just a rant (well it might be just a little bit) but the point is that before we send out a mail to overload customers or colleagues think how relevant the information actually is to them and how they might benefit from it. The Military adage of "need to know" is not just done out of secrecy it is also done to try and make people more efficient and retain information that is relevant to them and their job.