New Research Shows Information Overload Contributes to Worker Productivity

Surprising new research was released today (April 1st) revealing that workers become more increasingly productive the more they are interrupted.

SOMEWHERE, APRIL 1, 2011 – Surprising new research was
released today revealing that workers become
more increasingly productive the more they are interrupted. The study carried out by “Association for
Distraction and Information Overload” or something like that, (I was listening
to a podcast when I read the report) found that people struggle to complete
routine tasks when not accompanied by text message alerts, computer desktop pop-up
windows, or their colleague’s incessant Justin Bieber ringtones. The study, entitled
“Information Overload … What Was I Thinking About Anyway?” surveyed 500 business
workers. Of those, only 240 were able to actually complete the survey
uninterrupted, but what the hay, it’s good enough for us.


“I was mildly surprised by the findings, but it’s not the
first time we have had to re-evaluate how we think about technology,” said Nedd
Ludd, curator of the Future of Technology History Museum and author of the
best-selling Whatever Overwhelms You Is Good for You. “I was more surprised by last year’s study
that found that increased exposure to teen sitcoms actually lowers IQ score,” referring
a ten year, multi-million dollar study that rocked the foundation of the
education establishment.

The information overload study also found that high school
student’s grades improved markedly when student’s engaged in additional forms
of distraction. “Facebook, IM, text
messages, iPods, telephones … bring it on!
That’s the message of the research,” said J. Guttenberg, author of the study.
Guttenberg also added that reading and contemplation were found to reduce a
student’s ability to succeed at video games and slowed down their ability to
text message while driving. “We are concerned by the amount of books still
being read by today’s teenager. Time wasted reading books, especially the classics,
is negatively impacting our youth’s ability to compete in tomorrow’s
world. When compared to Chinese and Indian
peers, we find our youth just isn’t spending enough hours multitasking. The results could be catastrophic for the
future of our country,” warns Guttenberg.

Others concur. Professor Phineas J. Whiggish, professor of
progressive history at online university U OuttaLine, says that the results of the
study portend dire consequences for the future of higher education in this
country. In response, U OuttaLine plans
to introduce a revolutionary new sensory saturation program. In addition to conventional
online lectures and podcasts, the program offers students the option of over-stimulation
of multiple senses. For example, online lecture videos are displayed on top of a
window of rapidly-changing, random Internet pages, with staccato background
music thrown in for good measure. Students also have the option to sign up for
distracting text messages that are sent periodically throughout the lectures.
The text messaging option is free as part of an introductory offer, OMG. Prices and availability of the sensory
saturation program are not available …


What was I talking about again? I forgot.
I am already thinking about my next post … and where did I leave my keys,
anyway. Happy April Fool’s Day 2011.


About the author

A technology strategist for an enterprise software company in the collaboration and social business space. I am particularly interested in studying how people, organizations, and technology interact, with a focus on why particular technologies are successfully adopted while others fail in their mission. In my 'spare' time, I am pursuing an advanced degree in STS (Science, Technology, and Society), focusing on how social collaboration tools impact our perceptions of being overloaded by information. I am an international scholar for the Society for the History of Technology.