Information overload: New study pinpoints causes

Basex, the New York-based research firm, says it has a better handle on what causes information overload. In a post on, senior analyst Cody Burke says a new survey now in the field focuses on the “personal sources of information overload that knowledge workers deal with.”  Says Burke:

The survey is ongoing but some of our preliminary findings are quite interesting, and worth sharing:

  • By far the greatest perceived cause of Information Overload is e-mail, with over 66% of the votes for the number one cause being for e-mail.
  • The second largest source is a dead tie between interruptions and social networking sites, both at 20%.
  • Rounding out the top four is required reading (online and offline) at 23%.

We are also seeing trends emerging when we ask what the greatest enabler of Information Overload in the last two years has been.  Many respondents are selecting “Access to greater amounts information” as both the number one, and the number two factors.  This is interesting because many people who did not select it as their number one choice went on to select it as their second choice, reflecting the scale of the problem.

Thus far, we are also seeing a clear favorite method of reducing Information Overload.  When asked what the number one thing that could be done in their organization to combat Information Overload was, over 50% of the responses were to send fewer e-mail messages.

We would like to share our favorite comment from a survey taker with you. When asked what would help reduce Information Overload, he said the following: ‘Have someone else read everything for me.'”

Burke asks that you take the Basex survey on information overload. His company will update its findings soon.


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Filed under Email management, Research

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