Information overload: the differences that age makes

2015-02-18T15:22:00Z (GMT) by Jennifer C. Benselin Gillian Ragsdell
Information overload has long been studied as a phenomenon that causes problems at the personal, social and organisational level. This study investigates overload from a new angle, that of the influence of age on perceptions of information overload. A combination of questionnaires, interviews and diaries were used to gain insight into people’s perceptions towards information overload. It was found that people of all ages suffer from information overload but young people are primarily affected by information literacy levels while older people are affected by technology. There was evidence of a link between age and technology use. A link was also found between job role and information overload and the impact technology has had on the quantity of information available. This research will benefit anyone, either individually or within an organisation, looking for ways to combat information overload. It identifies the influence of age on various factors and recommends actions that may be taken to reduce information overload. In particular, recommendations were made for further training in technology and information literacy. The paper is based on an approach not seen before in the literature as it investigates the effects of age on information overload by seeking to understand how perceptions towards information overload may differ between different age groups. It is anticipated that this paper will trigger further studies that could focus on the effect of job role on information overload and the likelihood of information addiction becoming a future concern.