When the discussion comes to Twitter, Facebook and Co. sooner or later somebody will state that all this stuff is just causing media overload. "People will drown in information!" they claim.

Maybe I am a little slow, but I don't get it. Just a quick glance around in a normal wood (that's the areas with bad WLAN, and lot's of brown and green stuff) will provide your eyes with much more data than you can handle. The trick of course is filtering and aggregation. You don't think about things like "Oh, my 53264th photoreceptor saw something pretty bright, and the right next to it, number 53265 sees something dark" you think about a chess problem you are seeing, or a zebra or tree trunks.

Ok, these are all pretty natural stuff, but Twitter and Facebook are artificial right? So there is a complete new dimension to it, right? Wrong. Even at the end of the last millennium there was so much stuff written, that nobody could handle it all. Even when you tried to follow a very specific area in the appropriate journals, you got swamped fast. And by narrow I mean something like 'numerical simulations of atoms or molecules in intense laser fields'. Trust me, I tried it for some time. But again the trick is filtering and aggregation. You skim the abstract, check the authors for known names and decide, if the article is interesting for you. If an article slips through your net, you will notice it, when it gets referenced by multiple other articles. And it works just like that with Twitter, Facebook & Co.

The big difference is: yes, you have even more stuff that might be interesting, but you also have much more powerful ways to filter and aggregate.

Of course if you just follow everybody, read every tweet and click every link, you won't get much else done. But without the Internet you'd probably busy zapping through a couple hundred TV channels.