Channel Fatigue and the Fight Against 'Infobesity'

It’s 3:45 am, I’m up and my phone is chiming with notifications, in a procession of continuous beeps and jingles as it has done for as long as I can remember. My wife suggests, the micro pauses between beeps are a waste and that my phone should just emit a singular uninterrupted tone.

Years ago during a talk I was asked how we’d cope with the ever increasing volume of  information that comes with the self publishing nature of social media.

How do we filter what’s important from the ever growing info landfill.

I responded (more confidently than I should have) that some channels already have in place algorithms to filter and serve up what they learn to be relevant to us, and with continued machine learning we will enter a world of perceptive media.

A world where channels and mainstream publishers collect our data to understand who we are and what we need before we know we need it – Minority Report style. Although it wouldn’t take Nostradamus to have figured it out four years ago, I was chuffed with myself.

But four years on and a with presence on more social networks than I can count, and with client logins to even more platforms. I am starting to think that perceptive media, although helpful, is not enough.

There have been thousands of applications built to address the issue of information overload, and although they are capable of sorting and presenting information. The only thing that could address true channel fatigue is platform abstinence.

FOMO blasphemy I know. But what do we retain when presented with everything? Its council we have been giving clients for years but a number of us haven’t taken ourselves; You don’t need to be on everything, you just need to be on what works for you.

Here are five tips in the fight against infobesity;

1. Find what works and stick to it until it doesn’t.
Find where you derive the most value, invest in that channel and exclude others.

2. Audit your publishers
Follows and likes are more than just that. They are you as a brand or as a person letting content generators into your life. You wouldn’t sit through a movie or a play you didn’t like, why let a brand you have very little interest in fill your social feed with irrelevant content.

3. Switch off
Even call centre employees get a break. Mute the beeps.

4. Consider content and utility inseparable
Were there a modern philosophical movement dubbed Content-Utilitarianism, I would don a beret and hand out pamphlets at rallys. Consider the value of the content you consume. Ask yourself is it remarkable/is it worthy of remark? Does it give more than it takes? Is it useful? If it doesn’t meet the standards cut it from your life.

5. Don’t be one of them
Cut down on the rubbish you share. Ask yourself the same questions above.