News
Commentary
8/26/2008
02:24 AM
Melanie Turek
Melanie Turek
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Feeding the Beast

Steve's comments below got me thinking about why we don't just accept information overload, but actually ask for it.There was plenty of chatter in the blogs this weekend over the decision by the Obama campaign to text its supporters news of the VP pick as soon as it happened (well, as soon as the campaign was ready to release it). Most of it seemed centered around (1) the timing of the text's release (another 3am brouhaha), (2) the "next-gen Internet outreach" approach, and (3) the pick himself. Mainly lost in the discussion was whether anyone really needed to know the information in real time, on their cells and PDAs.News reporters need to know what's happening as soon as possible, so they can spread the word in this world of 24/7 news cycles. Any Obama supporters who really cared that much about the VP choice could have found the information the instant it was released, via text message, RSS, or a simple web search. So why on earth did millions of supporters sign up for theinstant information? If you ask me, just did it because everyone else was doing it, and it sounded kind of cool.It's not like having the information in the middle of the night made any difference to Obama's supporters, or to Obama; the election is still months away. But if people want to wake up at 3am to feel "in the know," so be it.However, businesses that treat information as mission critical, regardless of what it is and whether it truly is timely or time-sensitive, yet alone necessary to do one's job, do so at their peril. Managing multiple inputs is only part of the problem (and one which Steve details well). Rushing to act on information as quickly as possible simply because you can can create more problems than it solves, ranging from distraction (really, shouldn't most of us have been sleeping at 3am?) to mistakes.Sometimes, of course, we do need data as quickly as possible. People whose jobs involve saving lives in a heartbeat (surgeons, firefighters, soldiers on the front line) obviously need good information as soon as it's available. Even less critical endeavours sometimes require it, too--during sales calls that are going to be made now, for instance, whether we can participate or not.But a lot of what we do would probably be done better if we all took time to think for longer about fewer things.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Business of Going Digital
The Business of Going Digital
Digital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - July10, 2014
When selecting servers to support analytics, consider data center capacity, storage, and computational intensity.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join InformationWeek’s Lorna Garey and Mike Healey, president of Yeoman Technology Group, an engineering and research firm focused on maximizing technology investments, to discuss the right way to go digital.
Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.