Don Tapscott is this week’s broadcaster discussing the internet and its impact on society. (July 4th-7th on The Agenda).

Don is not the first, and he won’t be the last.

I agree that Gutenberg made knowledge available en masse for the first time ever, and my childhood was enveloped in encyclopedia, and later, closed-stack reference books.

I agree that Wikipedia and my peer technical forums help me to achieve more than ever I could in my days of 80-column punched cards.

But I draw the line at the terms “Information Age” and “Flooded with Information”.

If you have not yet listened to a podcast or read an article on “Information Overload” this week, then you must be reading this on Sunday AND have slept in late. Shame on you!

For Hollerith’s sake! It’s not information that is flooding us, it is data.

Ian Sharpe of I.P. Sharpe Associates said it best when he told us that “It’s called Data Processing because we take Data and Process it to get Information”.

We wandered through ADP, EDP and DP over the years and are now said to be IT.

But the problem of an Internet search (“Data Processing” – About 82,700,000 results) is that we are awash in Data, not Information.

Eighty-Two Million PAGES of stuff written about Data Processing, but which of all those pages is relevant and adds to YOUR understanding of the way the world works?

Sure, Wikipedia (with 3,678,951 articles in English as I type) will get you started on any topic you can imagine (I bet you knew nothing about the Yilgarn Craton until today!), but you still have to evaluate and filter what you see there.

The problem facing us each day is Data, not Information.

Information is the solution.

Data is the problem.

Getting from Data Overload to Informed Decisions is management’s biggest hurdle.


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