EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

News, Media, Web 2.0 Culture: On Information Overload

National Library Week?  (Oh… totally missed it because I spent all last week trying to get Twitter figured out and am making some progress with that).

Today (Apr 22 2009), Google informed me, is Earth Day. In an approximate way, a recent campaign by the non-profit group Adbusters.org is similar.

On their “About” page, Adbusters.org, a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, states:  “ We are a global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society.

The overarching message from Adbusters.org suggests some or all of the following:  turning off your TV, unplugging your electronic devices, adopting a skeptical outlook about the culture of continual consumption.   Their content fosters an attitude of anti-big business, anti-advertising, anti-obesity, staying off the grid, and in general advocates for using less stuff – both for the health of individual people, and for the greater good of the planet.

An example: the group declared November 28, 2008 as “Buy Nothing Day” and urged readers to cut up their credit cards, get out of debt, shop and spend less.  (Many thousands of Americans did not do this.)

This week, Adbusters.org has declared Digital Detox Week (Apr 21-26, 2009) which urges readers to “go off-line for seven brain-restoring days” by unplugging all their digital devices.  (Many thousands of Americans will not be doing this.)

Following is a screenshot of their campaign-logo, urging folks to get off the grid:

digitaldetoxweekPhoto credit: http://www.adbusters.org/campaigns/digitaldetox – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

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Here’s a list of recent tweets about the idea.

After looking around on their website (and chuckling over their SpoofAds), I came across the link to ABTV (AdbustersTV) and found this 2008 video called Information Deformation, which raises some enduring talking points about manipulation (or management) of our global attention-spans in this Digital Age:

Video Source: http://www.adbusters.org/abtv/adbusters – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009

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When my son was about seven years old, he asked me a number of important questions:

  • Mom, were there cars when you were growing up?
  • Did you have television then?  What programs did you watch?” *
  • Well…. what did you do before there was the Internet?”
  • Brief thoughtful silence.
  • Then: <sigh>  “It sounds pretty boring when you were growing up, Mom.” (this final statement… with a pitying glance).

These are questions that only a digital native would ask, of course.

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Several medical bloggers posted items this week about Information Overload.  Here are two I enjoyed reading:

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So, will you be unplugging your devices this week?

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* Scooby-Do, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Petticoat Junction, Hollywood Squares, and anything by The Three Stooges.
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