As we enter 2011, we will see a reduction in the popularity of information consumption. In our past are the days of craving Facebook updates and tweets. The toll that this information overload has on our society has been so crippling that it has affected the fundamental ways we communicate. This will sustain no more.
Many users are fed up with the way Facebook has evolved. Elementary school teacher, Michelle L., especially abhorred the "Newsfeed" function of Facebook.
"As soon as Facebook started the Newsfeed, I thought I was ready to bail! It was just too much and terribly, I found that I even started to not care, or even worse, be angry at the people that flooded my "home" screen - angry enough to "hide" them. It's like Facebook backfired for me as a way to keep in touch with certain people. It was almost a deterrent."
Yet, some users believe the usage will continue to expand despite the information overload. University of Utah, International Studies graduate, Grace C., explains her thoughts.
"I don't know if I agree with the fact that social media use will diminish as we enter into the new year. Even if the 20s-30s generation peters off, the subsequent generation (Z) is a generation that has grown up in this digital age and knows no different. Their life is in digital and when looking for anything and everything, they turn first to the internet. So even if we get bored of Facebook and twitter, the demand for Facebook is still filled by the younger generation. "
Indeed, Generation Z's world is in digital (Does anyone know how to look up things in the library anymore?). In Eric Qualman's book "Socialnomics", we can see that this social media trend is so large that even companies are changing the way they do business, namely they way they advertise. However, local trends have suggested that the saturation of information often has a breakpoint: when people realize they live to be busy. Grace admits that she thinks the Facebook era will eventually collapse when we see, "faster, more impersonal device to fill the void of what use to be human relationship."
The new trend in information dissemination and consumption is one of humility and restrain. Information will be kept within smaller and smaller circles. People will despise blatant exploits of self-stardom and narrow their focus on what is actually important. Tim Ferriss, in the Four Hour Work Week explains the concept of the "low information diet" in which one selectively ignores news. The application is simple. If a piece of information is not pertinent to an immediate action, there is no need to acknowledge the information. When was the last time a headline in Iran affected the way you handled your daily business? Subsequently, phone calls and face-to-face conversations will climb in importance. The number of friends on Facebook and the frequency with which we tweet/text will no longer be a significant value.
Those who will benefit from this paradigm shift are the value-added companies that are highly focused on information confidentiality and the quality of human interaction (vs quantity).