Managing the Information Explosion
January 31, 1997
in this forum:
Should Internet users expect to pay for information in the future? Should the government provide Internet access? With so much information on the Internet, how can one avoid Web Trash? What does the Internet mean for those living in remote places? Can a "common culture" exist in the age of New Media? What skills do children need to learn to be media literate? Viewer comments regarding New Media.
December 30, 1996: Will information traffic jams increase in cyberspace?
December 25, 1996: The NewsHour reviews the Year in Cyberspace.
Browse the Online NewsHour's coverage of cyberspace.
Heather Scott of Melbourne, Australia, writes:
Coming from a country that is generally regarding by the rest of the world as isolated, Australians pickup new technology quickly, our mobile phone coverage is extremely high, both in usage and area. You can ring from one side of the country to the other with in the same network. Its the same with the Internet, we have one of the highest usage rates in the world, not per head but in hours of use! Back to the question. How to approach the information-rich era?
As with the industrial age last century, I believe that some people will take the new media on board and others will ignore it. I think we all know people that do not have TV or video's. Even in the USA I have met people that do not own modern entertainment equipment, they rely on books, magazines and newspapers. One reason is that people work with computers and some believe that it is like bringing work home. As for your question about bringing more understanding, I do not understand how when there are people who do not have access to this new media as they are unable to afford it. The world is being split between the haves and the have-nots.
Wayne Wolfmeyer of Cedarburg, WI, writes:
I acquired a multimedia computer in Oct. '96, the first thing I did was sign on to the net. I found it fascinating and spent hours and hours online, by the way one of my first on- line conquests was to find The Online NewsHour. While not alot was accomplished I was learning more than I had bargained for; that was, to take a bath in the information ocean.
While the first few weeks were spent mostly crashing around the Web I did manage to find a news-group support page for an illness my wife was diagnosed with that same day. Also in those first weeks I found bluebook prices for a used car that I eventually purchased.
Tonight I came to the Online NewsHour to find the transcripts of a news segment about bacteria's immunity to antibiotics that I watched earlier tonight on TV. I have saved that transcript and will attach it to an e-mail to a friend that once expressed his theory on that very subject.
Well, that's how I'm approaching the "Information Jungle".
Richard A. Beldin of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, writes:
Most of us don't have the time necessary to be well informed. Whether one uses print or electronic media, finding minority opinions with which to calibrate the headlines is still too costly. The popular opinion will be repeated dozens of times suffocating the rare challenge. My personal preference is for a coherent world view that allows me to ignore apparently inconsistent data on all but the most pressing issues. And these pressing issues are likely to not attract the attention of the media.
Matt Meko of Seattle, WA, writes:
"New Media" will serve not only educated consumers and America, but also uneducated consumers and the world.
With all the choices consumers will be given by the media, I hope some of them will notice that although technology equals convenience, personal privacy also becomes an issue.
If a person knows as much as they can about themselves (emotionally, spiritually, physically), they will probably have a better chance of adapting to and evolving with the onset of media choices. I am concerned that many people who are not "cool" with themselves will unfortunately be held captive by new media advertisers.
Arnie Cooper of Montecito, CA, writes:
I wish I could answer the first question, because that's one of my greatest frustrations these days. I'd like to think that POINTCAST or some other type of Internet news gathering mechanism would hold the key to helping us assimilate the abundance of information, but to me the problem goes far deeper. Human beings are simply not equipped to advance exponentially as is the new technology. The hundred or thousand-fold increase in media outlets has created a situation where people like me feel overwhelmed rather than informed. We have created a cacophony of information which I fear is not only alienating us from one another (as suggested in the question above) but more significantly alienating us from ourselves. The question posed by MICROSOFT, "Where do you want to go from here?" is an excellent one. Unfortunately, no one is even attempting in the vaguest way to answer it.
Benjamin J. Matwey of Wilmington, DE writes:
A common American dialogue is tough to have on subjects of meaning in people's lives when there is no common dialogue, and I lament this will get tougher. I have spent half of my almost 40 year old life involved in politics of integrity, with people of integrity, losing a bit more than winning.
...My love of public issues does not bring me a warm and fuzzy feeling as the new media keeps exploding, as exploding it must, since people want variety, and will search for it. But methinks they'll miss much in their travels to reach their desires.