Since the invention of the printing press we have become overloaded with influence. Now just as we have control over the books we read, we also have control over what information we choose to digest, even in the age of constant Twitter streams and Facebook updates. A few years ago I chose to cease my daily ritual of reading multiple newspapers. I was finding that I was becoming stressed after reading all the mayhem editors were sending my way. Like those papers, we can easily be inundated by a fire-hose of information through the constant updates of social media accounts. There are millions of blogs that beckon our reading. So again the question, who in influencing us?
One way of keeping our influence to a manageable state is to limit our consumption to what our tribe is saying. By tribe, I mean the smaller group of people within your sphere of influence. I create lists on twitter, I keep my Facebook community small, and I am constantly trimming the blog and site lists I keep up with. By doing this I benefit from not only from my tribes information but that of it’s greater community.
Other than simply keeping things manageable there is scientific proof that too many inputs can stifle our effective decision making. Len Sweet shared an article this week from Newsweek describing the decision crisis we find ourselves in. With multiple sources of information streaming in at us, our brains are finding it harder to be decisive.
I am constantly trimming, refining, changing and discerning who I listen to via my channels of influence. Over time my channels have become valuable to me. Just as I am discerning regarding the books I read, I don’t pay attention to every message that crosses my radar, even in the refined lists. I do pay attention to those who have over time proven consistently valuable, which brings me to another subject; being a valuable contributor to your tribe. But that is another blog topic. How are you keeping your information stream from crippling your decisions?
Here is one of my favorite quotes regarding this subject and how we will overcome it:
E. O. Wilson
“We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.”