Information Overload & How to Deal with it: Quarantine Edition

Information Overload & How to Deal with it: Quarantine Edition

The influx of technology and digital platforms has made the world accessible at one’s fingertips. Unlike ever before, there’s a revolving door of news updates. The internet serves as a platform for advocacy in the rise of grassroots organizations, influencers, and activists. However, in the wake of a pandemic and self-isolation, frequent news notifications may not be best for our psyche. COVID-19 is here and reaps an eerie uncertainty as cities and countries grapple with keeping the spread under control. So, what does all of this mean to you?

  • Rise of misinformation
  • Phone addiction
  • Ability to mobilize (virtually)

Information overload is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as, a situation in which you receive too much information at one time and cannot think about it. Information and misinformation about coronavirus are spreading just as fast as the virus itself. According to AP News, in a 2018 MIT study, researchers found false news travels faster than real news, “it’s often designed to grab people’s attention by connecting with emotions such as fear or outrage.” We are bombarded with COVID-19 updates via social media platforms, email newsletters, traditional media, and text chain messages. Here are some ways to cope with information overload:

  • Time management
  • Take a break, quiet the noise
  • Workout
  • Meditate
  • Journal
  • Read a book
  • Tidy your space
  • Indulge in light-hearted content

Quarantine 2020 has been an inconceivable plot twist. However, a good friend and Newhouse alumna told me:

“You can only control what you could control”

We may not be able to change our exterior circumstances but we can control how we react. We hold so much power in our thoughts and words. Flooding our minds with what-ifs and worst-case scenarios makes it much harder to stay grounded and positive. I urge you to stay up to date with sourced media however, practice detaching from the mayhem.

Take note of how much time you spend on your phone on social media. It’s imperative to be cognizant of what and how much we are feeding our souls. (certain apps give alerts of how much time you spend on them!)

Think and Grow Rich author Napoleon Hill said, “opinions are the cheapest commodities in the world. Everyone has one and is willing to use it.” Misinformation and ignorance have aided in the spread of COVID-19. I hope you are safe and well informed in these uncertain times.

Credit: Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Erica Rawlins
Erica Rawlins is a graduate student at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She is studying Public Diplomacy. Her interests lie in advocacy, branding and harnessing the power of social media. Upon graduating from Syracuse University she hopes to tie her interests into a career that impacts emerging markets.