Information Pollution, Knowledge Overload, Limited Attention Spans, and Our Responsibilities as IS Professionals

Global Information Technology Management Association (GITMA) World Conference - June 2008

6 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2007 Last revised: 29 Sep 2013

David A. Bray

Harvard University; University of Oxford; National Defense University

Abstract

I enclose a general submission piece discussing information pollution and the problems associated with this phenomenon. I detail how information pollution arises, what challenges it brings for us as IS professionals, and future avenues of research and development that might remedy this problem. Specifically, the average knowledge worker - someone who is part of the growing information economy - loses 2.1 hours a day to interruptions associated with multi-tasking. If those workers make an average of $21 an hour, that adds up to $588 billion a year, more than the gross domestic product of Argentina. Another recent study finds knowledge workers experienced interruptions approximately once every 10 minutes and it took an average of 23 minutes for them to return to their original task. What can we do as IS professionals to address information pollution? This paper seeks to provide answers and stimulate future endeavors.

Keywords: information pollution, knowledge overload, attention spans, information systems, cognitive distortion, social distortion, evolutionary biology

JEL Classification: D70, D83, D89

Suggested Citation

Bray, David A., Information Pollution, Knowledge Overload, Limited Attention Spans, and Our Responsibilities as IS Professionals. Global Information Technology Management Association (GITMA) World Conference - June 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=962732 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.962732

David A. Bray (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of Oxford

Oxford
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dbray

National Defense University ( email )

Marshall Hall
300 5th Avenue
Washington, DC 20319-5066
United States

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