Excess Capacity in the Information Age

Frank Leopold Weil, a renown American lawyer once said “apathy is the enemy of democracy."  Mr. Weil's words have never been more important.  From the Brexit and Trump phenomena to the rise of fake news and the “Catch Me Outside” girl, we’re living in crazy times, and I think it's fair to say we're all a bit exhausted.  

Something has to change.

People are turning away from news because stories like this are overwhelming our phones, email, and google alerts.  Every day creates hundreds of new headlines, and for those of us who work in the news industry (and beyond), media FOMO is a real thing.  Here's a few factors that have led to this moment:

  • The 24/7 news cycle is a major reason why mistrust in media is at an all-time high.  
  • Not every Trump tweet should be breaking news, but we’ve made it that way.

  • When there’s too much noise, people tune out.

This realization, aka Information Overload, is nothing new.  Eli Pariser’s Filter Bubble theory is bursting.  People are getting tons of information, but many don’t know (or necessarily care) where it came from.  Granted, there's bias on both sides of the aisle...but there's a major difference between bias and blatant lies.  

 

We view these challenges as opportunities, and believe there are several ways to solve this increasingly more serious problem.  There’s a ton of excess capacity associated with information overload.  We consume more media than ever before in human history, but what happens after we read, watch and listen?  If we just consume and move on, we're only adding to the problem.  

We need to question, engage and debate.  

If apathy is the enemy of democracy, then perhaps an open-minded and meaningful dialogue is the anecdote.


Written by Andrew Schuster — Co-founder & CEO