Wikipedia defines information overload as a term “popularized by Alvin Toffler in his bestselling 1970 book Future Shock. It refers to the difficulty a person can have understanding an issue and making decisions that can be caused by the presence of too much information.” It is ironic in itself to use Wikipedia to look up the term as this site represents the amount of information that is now available to anyone with access to the internet. The web-encyclopedia Wikipedia was started in 2001 and currently contains 4,323, 096 articles, boats 19, 643, 105 users and as of last year clocked over 470 million unique visitors each month. The internet began as what developers call “packet switching, published in a paper by Leonard Kleinrock at MIT in 1961. The first wide area network computer ever was built at the University of California at LA and was connected with a low speed dial up connection in 1965. The internet protocol suite was standardized in 1982 and the concept of the world wide network or World Wide Web was born in 1991. “Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has had a revolutionary impact on culture and commerce, including the rise of near-instant communication by electronic mail, instant messaging, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) “phone calls”, two-way interactive video calls, and the World Wide Web with its discussion forums, blogs, social networking, and online shopping sites.” Globally, internet usage has grown astronomically “A study conducted by JupiterResearch anticipates that a 38 percent increase in the number of people with online access will mean that, by 2011, 22 percent of the Earth’s population will surf the Internet regularly. The report says 1.1 billion people have regular Web access.” And with all of this comes more and more information. A simple web search of the word “egg” results in over 220,000,000 results in 0.22 seconds. There is no longer a need for the old giant set of World Book encyclopedias of yesteryear. I can search an infinite amount of information at the click of the button. But what are the downsides to all of this information? I asked my chiropractor yesterday about the situation in Syria, he encouraged me to not watch the news because it was negative and would negatively affect my health. While I’m not going to stop watching the news, he does have a valid point. The majority of news is negative, and as Jesus reminds us in Matthew
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven”.( Matthew 5:13-16 ESV).
We must be the salt and light, the positive to the negative. We must share the light of Christ to the world that is bombarded with negative information.
Leiner, B. et al. A brief history of the internet. Internet society. Retrieved from: http://www.internetsociety.org/internet/what-internet/history-internet/brief-history-internet
Wikipedia. History of the internet. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Internet