Are you an infomaniac?

Are you an infomaniac?

Have you become addicted to electronic communications? Do you suffer from continuous stress and distraction caused by an inability to deal with an unending list of unanswered emails and constant interruptions from your smart-phone, your tablet, or your computer? Will you admit to being an infomaniac or are you in denial?

How do you know if you are an infomaniac?

Here are the major symptoms of being an infomaniac:

  • sending and receiving work emails, phone calls and SMSs at all hours of the day and on weekends

  • constantly checking your social media, particularly Facebook
  • indiscriminately answering emails – instantaneously responding to trivial emails but ignoring important messages

  • sending emails or SMSs in the middle of conversations and meetings – preferring electronic communications to face-to-face

  • sending emails from bed when you are too sick to go to work

  • checking your emails when you are playing with your children or when you are on holiday

  • never turning off your smart phone and using it at the dinner table or in meetings

The serious side or infomania

Although it sounds humorous, infomania is a real concern for people who lose their quality of life and for businesses that lose hours of productive time a week from their workers who suffer from it.

Infomania is related to Information Overload or Attention Deficit Trait. It is a symptom of Technostress or exposure to data smog; one author has called it information obesity (1).

As with calories, we must work constantly to whittle down, prioritize, and pick out the choice nutritional bits. If we don’t monitor our information diets carefully, our cerebral lives quickly become bloated.

UK research suggests the relentless messaging received by modern workers reduces their IQ by twice that of smoking marijuana (2).

Impact on communications

Increased communication and greater access to information has benefited us all. However, it creates a paradox. More communications mean more distractions and, sometimes, creates overload which reduces people’s ability to deal with the information they are receiving.

People have become less responsive to messages (3). People are receiving between 300 and 3000 advertising messages a day. Are they paying any attention to your messages?

A little history of this post

I have updated this post from March 2008. It is interesting that then smartphones were rare (the equivalent was called a PDA – personal digital assistant), tablets were just being invented and Facebook and Twitter were in their infancy, but symptoms of infomania were common. Infomania has only got worse. The answer is to read more books.


1. Shenk, D. The E Decade – Was I right about the dangers of the Internet in 1997? (viewed 2 March 2008)

2. Knight, W. ‘Info-mania’ dents IQ more than marijuana 22 April 2005 (viewed 2 March 2008)

3. Zeldes, N., Sward, D. and Louchhei, S. Infomania: Why we can’t afford to ignore it any longer First Monday (viewed 2 March 2008)