How did the “wealth” of information become a load?

Illustration of a stethoscopeThe digital age carried on its wings the “wealth” of information. In the past, data was available only to professionals, and we, simpletons, would listen and abide by their instructions without objections or a second opinion. If the Doctor said that the child’s sores were mosquito bites, we would accept the verdict lovingly or sometimes, grudgingly. The skeptics will ask what could be done so that it would not be so itching. The hysterical ones would update the Doctor and tell him that there’s a child in the kindergarten who had these sores and is now hospitalized. The Doctor would patiently answer the questions, reassure the parents, and they will leave happy. As the Internet came to be, parents became Doctors. They visit the doctor to confirm their diagnosis and receive some treatment for it.

In the past, if a handyman estimated the price of his work as $ 5,000, we accepted his estimations. We could not compare it. Neither did we think that the cost is not related to the nature of the work. His calculations took into account various things such as the volume of work orders that he already has; Is this the burning season? Perhaps the cost is outrageous because he didn’t want to do it? At most, we would get a second opinion or start bargaining about the price in order not to feel that we were fools.

Merely imagining that there is no association between the work and the cost? It would not have even occurred to us. Today, before we call any professional, we conduct a comprehensive search on the Internet. We check prices, materials, the integrity of the professional, what are the existing reviews about him, etc. The thorough ones will also ask on internet groups in which they are members for help. For instance: “Who can recommend a serious handyman who finishes the job before going to another one?”

Superficially, it all sounds great. We did some investigations, we have a lot of information on the subject, and we know what to ask the Doctor or how to choose an experienced handyman that has excellent reviews. But in reality, that’s a substantial bias. The obvious case is with medication. We do not have the same knowledge that the Doctor has, any doctor. After all, he had studied at least seven years, and if he is an expert, then twelve years. He knows thousands of forms of blisters and abscesses. Not like us, trying to compare the blisters to all the photos that we found on the Internet. Another question is the question of trust. If you do not trust the Doctor and do not believe his level of knowledge and his diagnostic skills – find another Doctor. Leave the information online. It will only make you more anxious.

Choosing between optionsBut even in other professional matters, we do not have the information that an expert has. He has more experience and knowledge than we can get online. For example, we read the name of a particular material that has recommendations on the Internet. We inform our chosen handyman that we want him to use this specific stuff since, in our opinion, it is the most suitable for the job. As the professional offers a different and better material, we remain at a loss. What can we do, as the material that he mentions is unknown to us? Place him on hold and look at Google to see what it is? Tell the professional that we never heard of this stuff? So actually, we are not the wiser with the Internet’s help.

The accessibility to the wealthiness of information sometimes turns into “too much,” a surplus of information. For instance, receiving recommendations on five specialists results in a need to choose. One of the most pressuring issues in life is the issue of decision making. First, some people find it challenging to make decisions. They are hesitant by nature, and they recognize their indecision. Thus, they will look for someone to help or take responsibility. Otherwise, they will postpone the decision as much as possible and will never decide. They will continue to oscillate between options. Imagine what a burden falls on their shoulders when they see the wealth of information and alternatives on the Internet – more than they imagined. And now – how to select?

And yet, even for people who decide quickly, there is a threshold for checking all the data. There comes a moment when they are lost in all the affluence of information, alternatives, and possibilities. Thus, they cannot make any decision and feel the same feelings of frustration felt by those who have difficulty in choosing, or they adopt the last alternative. The adoption of the final possibility is a choice of “fatigue” that does not take into consideration any calculations of benefit and loss. Trump is an instance of that method; he is supposed to make decisions based on the opinion of the last person he talked to.

A lot of street signs on a single post - too many choices!Even people who find it baffling to make more prominent and significant decisions make dozens of minor choices in daily life. For instance, selecting clothes, choosing a menu, and so on. These options do not require any method since they are embedded from a young age and are performed absent-mindedly. Making a more “significant” decision requires more considerable attention and the acceptance of responsibility for it. The subject of decision-making is so complicated that it is taught in the university, and there are varied approaches to it.

Decision-making is a process of several stages: defining the need or the goal, gathering information, weighing the “for and against” for every possibility, finally, making the decision. While the first two stages are comparatively simple, considering the alternatives is a long operation that requires a long time. Hence we are happy if someone does the initial screening for us and presents us with a modest number of alternatives for our further selection.

Every beginner blogger knows that articles’ titles starting with a number are eye-catchers. For example, “Four tips to keep your weight over time,” or “The four most important applications for your mobile phone.” The attractiveness of such articles is as they filter and reduce the alternatives into a small and exclusive number. Thus, as long as the number remains low, the stimulus for reading is excessive. Nevertheless, when the number jumps, “100 things to do in Spain,” or “100 recommendations for places that must be visited before you die,” we give up in advance. Who has the patience to read a list of one hundred places? Who can remember them all? What we are looking for online is the filter sooner than the wealth of information.

The last word: “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” Nelson Mandela

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