TMI

I realised something profound today: There’s such a thing as providing too much information to people, because it could overwhelm them and they would not use it at all.

(At work, I wrote up a lot of information on bike parking that wasn’t used. I was puzzled as to why, but now I understand.

I’ve done the same thing on the flip side. I asked a friend for advice on using Excel to run some stats, and she sent me so many links to helpful websites that I didn’t go check any of them.)

In some ways, it’s contradictory; you’d think that by giving people all available information on something, they’d be set to make informed decisions or know how to do xyz. I mean, isn’t that why the Internet is so cool? You can find out about anything! (to varying degrees of veracity)

But then there’s the issue of digestibility, people can only process so much information. If they get too much information, they get turned off, flustered, confused, and only use part of it or none of it.

We also get lazy about making the effort to wade through and understand things, especially in this era of short attention spans and sound bites!

(Or maybe I’m just a little in too deep in dealing with bikes both professionally and as a volunteer right now. Can’t see wood for trees, and getting burnt out.)

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