Earlier this week, I read an article in the L.A. Times Business section called “Hello, I’m a Digital Addict – Infomania Has Created a New Kind of FOMO: the Fear of Missing Out – on Content.” The article describes the growing phenomenon of people struggling to keep up with the vast amount of online content – emails, blogs, social media posts, articles, websites, etc. and suffer from “infomania.” . “Infomania” is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “The compulsive desire to check or accumulate news and information, typically via mobile phone or computer.” As a result, people are unable to take in so much information, become stressed out, and jump from website to website, glancing and skimming the content instead of absorbing it in depth. The article goes on to say that for many people this has become addictive behavior, where we constantly crave more content than our brains can process, and has contributed to shortened attention spans.

The article suggests that the cure for infomania is “mindfulness”, which is taking a moment to step back, take a breath and reflect on what is truly important and inline with our goals, and mentally “mark” it. This leads to slowing down and taking the time to synthesize, interpret and reflect on the information we take in.

Content overload is why we at Emdee Connect focus on the quality of the content of our sites, making them simple to navigate for patients, particularly on mobile devices. Also, we manage and monitor doctor listings across the Internet, focusing on the quality of the directory sites, not on quantity. We seek to provide our potential patients with a clear path to timely, relevant information. In addition, given that people often are able to read and retain information better in printed form, we provide printed brochures, flyers and other printed marketing materials for our doctors.

I also seek to avoid “infomania” in my daily work routines. Before I start working each morning, I pause to reflect on my goals for the day and the week, and then hand-write a to-do list before starting work. I find that this enables me to be better mentally focused, instead of immediately checking emails and our sites, which often leads to distraction and less efficient work.

Also, I read the newspaper, books and magazines to take a break from digital content. In fact, I read the Infomania/FOMO article in a newspaper, and probably would have missed it if I didn’t read the printed newspaper! Of course, I know that the newspaper and magazine content is also available online, but I find that I savor and read the articles more in-depth when I read the newspaper or a magazine at lunch or after work as opposed to reading an online article. I find that I retain information at a deeper level when I read printed material, but that takes an intentional, deliberate decision to ignore my phone and step away from the computer. And if I miss some online updates …that’s ok!

Source: Los Angeles Times (1/19/16)

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