That’s true. Humans are conditioned to absorb or ignore waves of information every second. Light’s green. Phone’s chirping – priority 2 server alert. Arcade Fire’s rocking on the radio – I like it. Clock says 11:32. Looks like it might rain. Someone’s honking. Forty cars are moving. You get it. Humans are monster relevancy engines.
But here’s the thing… all these messages are familiar and they’re experienced directly. We understand what they mean and how they affect us. Green means go. Chirping means new text message. Priority and relevancy are immediately recognizable. We know when to absorb and when to block.
What would happen, though, if you were fed all this same information through a bent communication device? Like someone you don’t know writing about it as it happens. A light is green. Priority 2 server alert. I like an Arcade Fire song. It’s 11:32 where I live. Looks like it might rain here. Honk. Forty cars are moving. I weigh 192.8lbs.
Would you know when to absorb and when to ignore? Would you understand priority and relevancy? Would you know when it mattered to you? Probably not. You might even complain of information overload. You might wonder why you subscribe to all of this information with no immediate context.
Information consumers are having to learn when to pay attention in the new environment. And our bent and broken communication devices aren’t helping.