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I recently watched JP Rangaswarmi’s TEDtalk on information. It inspired me to write this post which includes a summary of what he talks about and my thoughts. At first, I thought it was all a bit silly. Seeing information as food? I could get the obvious analogies but I didn’t really see why looking at it from that perspective was of any use. But then I kept thinking a bit more…

We consume information. I have, on a number of occasions, gnawed on information or a story I recently read until I had absorbed the necessary meaning (nutrients). Information for me is includes a balance between fiction, non-fiction, news, social updates across a number of platforms, and spontaneous thoughts from within.

We prepare, distill, and ferment information. The amount of research, lab reports, and essays I’ve had to do this year due to University is insane. Academic work is a perfect example of preparing information. You have to then distill information from the mass research you collected. Often we let ideas or concepts “ferment” in our heads until we decide to write it out. I have done this a number of times in regards to fictional writing. Sometimes we need to give time and distance to our ideas until they are ready for use.

We share information with others. We sell information. In fertile minds can information multiply. We hunt and gather our information. There are those who wish to grow information and build borders around it, they wish to own it and sell it for a price. Do we buy the raw materials and make it ourselves? Or have it delivered to us ready-made? What about expiry dates? Certain information expires quickly these days due to technology’s ability to constantly update. There are “brands” or corporations that, just like with food, try and push us to consume certain kinds of information more than others (e.g. Facebook).

I think, just like we do with food, information needs to come from a number of sources and in moderation. Narrowing our scopes in terms of the number of sources we collect and the types of information we gather can lead to credibility issues. From my experience, an open-mind is the best method to live a healthy information-consumption based life where lots of different kinds of information is processed. There is no shortcut to knowledge.

So on this train of thought… where information is food, have you ever been on an information diet? Have you ever felt overloaded with a certain type of information which you felt was unhealthy? Did it make you ill or change how you felt?

If you saw information as food what would you change, if anything at all?

Ermisenda Alvarez