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December 10th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Is there such thing as too much information?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Picture enough books to bury the entire United States under a pile seven feet deep. That's how much information we consumed last year.

A new study shows that residents of the U.S. consumed 1.3 trillion hours worth of information last year - that includes everything from computers to TV, radio, cell phones, text messaging, video games, movies, books, newspapers, magazines, you name it.

That averages out to almost 12 hours spent daily by every person - and this doesn't even include the information you soak up at work. It's just mind boggling and represents a 350-percent increase from 30 years ago.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego found that people get most of their information from television... followed by radio, the internet, video games and reading.

And a lot of these things happen at the same time, you know… multi-tasking, people talking on the phone while e-mailing... or text messaging while watching TV.

It's so bad that people don't even look where they're going anymore. They walk down the street with their noses buried in some hand-held device, oblivious to what's going on around them. Or worse, they do it while they're driving. They also sleep with them by their bedside and use them in the bathroom.

We live in a society where it's nearly impossible to turn the information off - it comes at us wherever we are.

Here’s my question to you: Is there such a thing as too much information?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Michael writes:
No, TMI no longer exists. However it's all about Quality now over Quantity. Even as I write this, I am using Google Reader tracking several other different news feeds, checking my Facebook and waiting for Twitter updates, while watching CNN on the television and waiting for text messages on my phone. And I am 32 years old. I could imagine what my daughter will be able to handle in the way of information by the time she gets to my age.

Lia from Bradenton writes:
Nope, an informed public is one that is best equipped to guard its freedom. What we do need are people who can logically evaluate the quality of the data and sources that they invite into their lives each hour.

Andrew from Los Angeles writes:
The inane garbage most of us send and receive on our mobile devices can hardly be considered "information." If those trillions of hours were spent consuming meaningful, stimulating information I wouldn't be so bothered by the stranglehold technology has over our lives.

Dan from Santa Barbara, California writes:
I'm still not sure what you mean by that. Can you upload an instructional video so I can Tweet my reaction to my college instructor who can in turn let me know if I have a valid point before I respond? I'll text you.

Tim from Crown Point, Indiana writes:
Gosh, are you crabby. Every time I watch you, you're complaining about something. Lighten up!

Katherine writes:
Jackie-me-boy, Your latest gripe is one I have had for years – and reminds me of a great bumper sticker I saw here in the Metro Boston area several years ago: Hang up and drive!

Janice writes:
Anything about Sarah Palin is too much information.

Randy from Salt Lake City writes:
No way, Jack! I'm anxiously awaiting the day when I will no longer have to carry around a Blackberry or blue tooth, but instead will have an internet/communications device surgically implanted in my head. My goal is to become a robot!


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (197 Responses)
  1. Paul, Austin, Texas

    The only time there is too much information is if you are doing something that you do not wants others to know about.

    December 10, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  2. Cameron

    While a lot of people would disagree with me, I DO believe that there is such a thing. Look at the current Tiger Woods scandal, just because he is a celebrity he is being publicized for adultery, something thousands of men do every day. Should we put all of their faces on TV too?

    Its safe to say the average American doesn't believe in what is known as "TMI" in the media until its their particular "information" going up on the internet and TV, what you could call a breeding ground for hipocracy.

    Cameron
    Oceanside, CA

    December 10, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  3. Rick McDaniel / Lewisville, TX

    Perhaps not so much too much information, as too much redundancy in information.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  4. John from Alabama

    Jack: Yes, when the information is classified as confidential or higher it is to much to be shared. The federal prison sentence is 10 to 20 years in prison for giving to much of this type of information. Better wait until the freedom of information act de-classifys this type of information. Can not wait to see what will be declassified from the Bush Administration years.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  5. Susan Frost

    Not if it's about things that matter – like what lobbyist your senator sold you out to. Yes if it's about the private lives of those who have no impact on public policy or national security. Some things are our business and some are not.

    Susan
    Tuscaloosa AL

    December 10, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  6. Joe CE

    No but it takes some skill to extract the meat in a reasonal time.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  7. Greg, Ontario

    Yes...everything the government shares with you and you share with us, you also share with The Talliban and other terrorists around the world. I don't want to know if security at airports is great or has holes in it because as soon as I do, the bad guys do. Lives can be at stake Jack.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  8. Lou from North Carolina

    You have to know who you are giving too much information to because most people cannot handle too much information.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  9. Fred R Deleon

    On the contrary........America lacks of it. ............Everything has been done behind-the scenes. Did I mentiones TRANSPARENCY? NO?
    hummm.

    December 10, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  10. Laurie in Lawrence, KS

    Oh my gosh, yes! Especially in the case of revealing one's sexual orientation. Really, is that something the world needs to know? With the internet we have become a tell all society that can't behave properly or dress appropriately. We have lost our civility, and it seems that anything goes.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  11. Bob Hertzog

    Yes there is. At least there is information that we have no need to know at all, such as who Tiger Woods is sleeping with or how many sleeping partner he has. However, in general, information is what we need to make reasonable decisions regarding anything in our lives. Too bad so many of us go through life with so little of it.

    Richmond Indiana

    December 10, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  12. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    Yes there is.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  13. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    If it is for the safety of this country and people, it should stay classified. For anything else we have a right to be informed. Too bad the people we elected in Congress are not forthright with us.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  14. marilyn Ebner

    no there isn't such a thing as too much information... provided it's information and not spin. I notice that there is a lot of information that is not being provided by the main stream news...especially when it comes to the white house. I would rather that you report all of it...and really just report it ...and let us make up our own minds as to it worth. I want to be informed ... and I don't want it to be selective information.

    Check out drudge and see what is being said about the school czar ... I would like to see you report on this... force some tough questions toward washington. Who is this school czar....what does he stand up for....what type of education is he really interested in introducing to our schools. I would like to see you report on this and being all sides to the table. Hav ethis guy on your show and ask him about the very sordid safety kits he's promoting. And the list goes on and on.

    Thank you forthe opportunity to express my views,

    Regards,

    Marilyn Ebner

    December 10, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  15. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Jack,this I ""can"" speak to and explain.
    There is often way to much info.And when there is way to much info is almost always to cover up something they do not want you to know.
    Its like the flim flam or the shell game.
    David

    December 10, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  16. Melissa

    Most definitely, and the news is more guilty of that than any other.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  17. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Yes, but those in the media think it's their job to uncover everything and share it with the public. This is just like there is such a thing as stupid questions, usually asked by stupid people, not you Jack.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  18. susan

    Depends on the situation. When it come to our governments, companies and other agencies that need to accountable to the people yes the more information the better. Where you work , yes bring on the infomation. The more infomation the better the work environment.
    How ever there is a time when there is too much infomation. Like what your friend did last night. Or when you have a parenting moment with your teenage kids. You know the type that you know you need to listen and be supportive but meanwhile you screaming inside .
    So to say it again, it depends on the situation.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  19. Maria

    Of course. And in politics we're blitzed with so much contradicting information, there comes a time when my eyes roll into the back of my head and then I run screaming from the room. That goes for on-line, books,radio, etc. I know I always have the option to turn the information off..and I do.(Except you and Wolf & Campbell Brown.)

    Maria

    Brunswick,MD

    December 10, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  20. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    I'd answer but there's already too much information.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  21. Mike

    Only if you are incapable of handling it.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  22. M. Huels from Little Rock

    There is way too much information out their. The Medias coverage of violent crimes in America perpetuates more of the same. The constant coverage of Columbine just motivated more kids to "go out with a bang." We know that somebody was murdered in the shady part of town today. We know that the war is more about greed than terrorism. So many Americans are simple minded, and all the news does is normalize crime and spread disinformation. It's like reality TV; one huge train wreck that we can't wait to tune into. It’s propaganda at its best. Is their any increase in flu deaths or is it just your usual fear-mongering? Doesn’t matter to big pharmaceutical companies .Ignorance is bliss and sometimes cheaper.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  23. Mode (PDX)

    Only in a low information society, Jack.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  24. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    There is potentially too much information only if some of it is nonsensical.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  25. JENNA

    Is there such a thing as too much information?

    NO. But there is such a thing as too much MIS-Information.

    I am all for "Free Speech" as long as the speech is FACTUAL and not partial truths or out and out LIES. There ought to be a law that any broacasting or print media must be TRUTHFUL except in media where they proclaim that this is OPINION ONLY AND NOT BASED ON FACTS before and after the statement is made..

    Example Rush Limbaugh would have to say "I am going to give you my opinion, and it is nothing but my opinion that is NOT based on FACT, that President Obama was not born in the US – but this is only MY opinion and it is not based on any facts"

    Can you just imagine how much REAL news we would get.

    Americans want FACTS not others opinions.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    December 10, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  26. Arlene, Illinois

    I for one do not want to know who is sleeping with whom!

    I just want to know why us Seniors did not get a cost of living

    raise on our Social Security for 2010. Did I miss something

    when we bailed out Wall Street

    December 10, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  27. southerncousin

    If you are referring to the current administration. There is to much incorrect or misleading information which the syncophanst in the liberal media suck up and spread as the gospel truth. Look at your own Rick Sanchez re: Rush Limbaugh.

    December 10, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  28. Alice,AR

    Yes, absolutely!!! There is nothing like fighting a war and telling the enemy where you are and how many soldiers, guns and ammo you have. This is what we do all the time. The development of the Internet and the information put on the Internet is partially responsible for 9/11. We can not underestimate the danger of so much information being available.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  29. Jim in Alabama

    Yes Jack there definately is! I have often said that if the news media of today were around prior to the invasion of europe, they;'d have told the world where we were landing, when and been there to cover it embedded with the troops if they'd been allowed. MOST of the press today has no ethics, no sense of responsibility or national security, and no restraints. There are some things that should not be made public and we've lost the ability and power to determine which things they are. Our priorities are so misguided as well. Weeks of coverage over Michael Jackson's death and not more than 2 days of coverage of a media icon, Walter Cronkite.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  30. Michael Alexandria, VA

    When it infringes on the rights of individuals to be left alone by the chattering classes, there is indeed such a thing.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  31. Mr. D

    Yes, and we are all suffering from it. No wonder people get turned off from politics and the world situation in general. Do we really need to know "everything?" I doubt it. In fact, there is too much of everything and that's why people long for the "old days." Our collective brains are racing at top speed to absorb all the information that will lead us to who knows where.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  32. perry jones

    the problem is each side only puts out the information they want you to know . we must rember that all information is not facts and all the facts should be out in the open this is were the media and the government rare failing the people of this nation

    one other thing Jack when some one puts out only what they want you to know and hides the rest of the factual information they are hideing the truth and they know they are worng on all accounts

    perry jones
    council bluffs ia

    December 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  33. Darren

    Our lives are certainly more like an open book with the advent of the Internet and now bosses screening potential employees facebook pagres, et al, and our rights to privacy are slowly slipping through our fingers - and it's too bad no one stopped that shooter at Fort Hood even though there was numerous signs of trouble and him even being in contact with an Islamist radical cleric, but we all have to be careful what we post online.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  34. pat

    yes there is ,where security matters are concerned! some info should never be allowed to be seen by the public.this is how we keep an upper hand on people who would attempt to destroy our way of life.i think all security communication should be encripted with only the highest security clearance be allowed to view those communications.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  35. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Yes there often is too much information. It has increasing become a matter of the more information the better regardless of the quality. Too much information, minus quality, is just a heep of raw data.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  36. Terry, Chandler AZ

    We get as much information as we want. If a person complains about TMI, all they need do is to eleminatea source or sources of that information. I get as much accurate information as I need. Most of that accurate information comes from CNN via cable or the Internet.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  37. Doug - Dallas, TX

    Of course there is Jack, it's going to continue to get worse. The media beats most stories to death, literally, and some tell out right lies. But besides complaining about the folks at Fox, with all the information that's out there it's amazing how much dumber the American population has become. The education system is helping. Ask any 20 year old to do math in their head, without a calculator (or their cell phone) and they can't. Many can't tell you all of the states and forget about knowing anything about the rest of the world. They have no idea what it was like before cell phones, video games and television. OMG, how would they exist without all of their toys? Point is having all of the information out there doesn't make any difference if no one uses it.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  38. Brian Delray Beach, FL

    An abundance of information is not bad. An average human being can only process so much during a given period of time and even this ability is tempered by a million variables:age, intellect, education, etc. We need to take more time to let our brains rest from the bombarment of useful information as well as some moron calling or texting or emailing or tweeting to ask us what we are doing. We need to shut off our cell phones and the rest of the electronic pests periodically and maybe just day dream about something fun like a vacation where we forget to take our I phone and the resort does not have Wfi.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  39. Jerrye in Sun Valley Idaho

    Probably, but I don't want to move to a totalitarian regime to be "protected" from it all.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  40. Ben in Maryland

    You bet. Anytime I hear, unwillingly, someone conducting a personal call on his/her cellphone anywhere near me, that is far too much information for me.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  41. Richard Sternagel

    Yes! Not only is there too much information but there is evidence of us losing our humanity i.e. people are easily distracted , there are endless interruptions to answer the cell phone and or tweet no matter what the social context one finds himself /herself in.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  42. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    When my kids were growing up, we restricted them to two hours or so of television each day. At the time, I pondered the idea: "What if someone could invent a television that requires the user to pedal a bike to keep it going?" It was a good idea then, and probably a better one now. There's probably more health care 'reform' in that notion than we'll see in coming weeks, and it is certainly 'green.'

    Seriously, Jack, when you and I were younger, one had 3 – 4 television stations to choose from, and they signed off at midnight with a test pattern. Now, there about 200 and they operate 24/7. Anyone with a cheap laptop can become a blogger. And mobile devices sprout like weeds. If there wasn't demand for all this info, organizations like CNN and others wouldn't produce it.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    December 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  43. Chuck

    If you feel like you're getting too much information, turn it off. No one is forced to watch TV or text on the cell, etc...

    December 10, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  44. Peg from NY

    Absolutely! Will it ever end?

    December 10, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  45. Anthony....NJ

    As a retired poitical junkie, I'm addicted to information. But too much information is sometimes detrimental. The internet is now the major source for misinformation, innuendo and conspiracy theories. Too many less discerning inquisitors believe anything in print. Thus you have the wingnuts such as the Tea Party and the Birthers.
    Sometimes information is a dangerous thing in the wrong hands.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  46. Albert K., Los Angeles

    Jack, to answer that question properly, I will need more information including examples of all notions of constraint, communication, control, data, form, instruction, knowledge, meaning, mental stimulus, pattern, perception, and representation which you are referring to in using the word, "information." Do you get the picture, or do you need more information?

    December 10, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  47. Rich McKinney, Texas

    No, I don't think so jack. What i do think however is that people take in what information they want to, when they want to and how they want to. Today posters on your blog choose to be here. Tomorow if you keep asking stupid questions like this one they might not. There are 8,839 television station in all broadcast formats. Consider yourself lucky we picked yours to watch tofday. Without us viewers you would be unemployed.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  48. Lil Me

    I don't think it's a matter of too much information. People are addicted to their phones, laptops, televisions, etc. because we live in a disconnected society – neighbors rarely know their neighbors anymore and people no longer have the extensive face-to-face connections they once had with one another. Constant texting, facebooking and news watching helps people feel connected.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  49. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    The 24-7-365 media coverage of events and people should be added to all the facts that you gave in your introduction. And the repetition that this causes in all the media wears a good brain down. Enough already. One thing at a time, concentrated on, and done well, is almost passe these days. Just because we can do all the things that we do-doesn't mean that we should.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  50. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Yes Jack, I think there is entirely too much information being given today. So much so that having human contact with each other has suffered. No one as the time to say hello or even smile. The other day I had a doctor's appointment. While waiting in the waiting room there was three other people and all of them were either text messaging or talking to someone on their cell phone. It used to be someone would say, "some whether we're having or how about them Eagles". Now it is like no one is really there. We use all these modern methods to communicate with each other that we stop talking to people in person.

    December 10, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  51. J.L from NJ

    I am sick of cell phones ringing in theaters when I paid an arm and a leg to see a show, People walk into you on the street because they are too busy texting while walking and people talking while driving who plough into the back of your car........too much information? Too much stupidity YES !!

    December 10, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  52. Alex in Seattle

    Yes, there is so much information available today that people can't focus on a single task anymore and nobody can seem to find the "off" switch. People think multitasking is a good thing, but can you imagine Sir Isaac Newton inventing calculus with a TV blaring in the background and his cellphone buzzing with the latest text? Great thoughts are rendered impossible when the thought process is fragmented by our technologies.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  53. HD in Phoenix, AZ

    Only Everyday!

    HD in Phoenix, AZ

    December 10, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  54. Ed

    Yes. I don't need to know what Tiger Woods, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan are doing every minute. I also don't want to know.

    Ed
    Texas

    December 10, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  55. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    No as long as it is true, correct and informative

    December 10, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  56. david doherty

    Yes, the subject of too much infomation, why is it that you can't even turn on the TV without seeing footage of the gate crashers, it's like the media is giving them just what they set out to do, get their picture's all over TV and their name's are becoming a house hold name's. If you at CNN and the other media networks feel so compelled to run this story, why don't you black out their faces!
    Dave from Peterborough NH.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  57. Weldon from Canada

    I don't think we have enough information. I think we are exposed to too much INACCURATE information and not enough of the verifiable information.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  58. Johnny C (Los Angeles)

    Hi Jack –

    Although the human brain is a super computer, our ability to efficiently utilize it is impacted severly due to the overload of information. Technology has now made it possible for a level of intrusiveness that has never been seen before. The constant interruption of information forced upon us has a deleterious effect on a person's short term memory ... some reports say it reduces your short term retention by upwards of 80%.

    Oops, what we were talking about jack ... I already forgot.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  59. Terry, Chandler AZ

    We get as much information as we want. If a person complains about TMI, all they need do is to eleminate a source or sources of that information. I get as much accurate information as I need. Most of that accurate information comes from CNN via cable or the Internet.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  60. mike saunders

    I would say, as do others that we are living in is the information age.
    It is not the amount of information that is questionable but the reliability of that information. I think people are showing a greater interest in world events as the level of education has also increased. People are more interested in looking into things deeper than at face value. I believe that people sift through the information to discover the reliability of information more than they did because people have come to realize that they have been often duped by poliiticians radio announcers and news people. Often news organizations employ reporters who not only bring the news but often bring their own biases. We know now that many cannot be taken at face value. Today it is about ratings and editors today treat the news like an episode of Gerry Springer.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  61. gord ontario

    being pounded every day about how bad things are only helps the drug companies

    December 10, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  62. Denis Duffy

    Hmmmmmm. I don't think I have enough information to comment on that.
    Thanks anyway, Jack. I'll have to get back to you.

    Denis
    Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  63. Kevin, Chester Springs PA

    Yep, and we're there. It was a much simpler time when my mother just yelled out her window of the 5-flight walk-up where I grew up in New York City when I needed to come home for dinner. And afterwards or before, or during with our metal TV trays we got with green stamps, we watched Cronkite at 6 pm for the 30 minutes of news. That coupled with a few of the New York daily newspapers and the 6 channels on TV was more than enough, at least for me.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  64. Flyingwolf, Manchester NH

    Yes. I hate it when co-workers talk on their cellphones while in the bathroom. I deliberately make nasty noises to mess up their calls. There should be some rules for this kind of practice.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  65. arthur stephen

    Drowning in information but starved for knowledge.!This mornings CNN a perfect example. Talking heads throughout Norwegian Chairs intro into why they gave Obama the Nobel Prize while they discuss the "war president" and 19% that feels he deserves it. Just maybe Americans should have listened to the people who gave him the award for five minutes.Give the director of the telecast a zero for context,

    arthur stephen
    waterloo
    Canada

    December 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  66. Karoli

    It's not that we get too much information. It's the kind of information! About 6 feet 11 inches of the seven feet of information is celebrity "news." Who, besides his wife, needs to know how many women Tiger Woods had sex with? Who cares that Jon and Kate broke up? Why do we need to know every little perversion of every celebrity in the world? Instead of studying Brangelina, turn off the tv, pick up a book and learn how to knit, cook, sew, build paper airplanes. Learn something, or visit a friend, volunteer at a hospital, read to your kids.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  67. Michael Roepke - Dallas, TX

    Information is the first step of education but we must remember that it is not the goal of education. That’s why we have heard so much about standardized tests to evaluate teachers. These tests are only measuring information retention.

    There is not such a thing as too much information. But there is a problem with too little wisdom, ethics, ability to apply information, and far too little politeness and respect for others. Rather than worry about the spread of information, let’s work to achieve a 350-percent increase of the other aspects of education.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  68. MARK PRIBBLE Anna Illinois

    YES. People use these places post all kinds of information photos personal thoughts and don't realize this will follow them around the rest of their lives good luck dummy's you deserve every bit.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  69. Ted, Aloha, OR

    No. Not too much information.The problem is the misuse of information from out of context quotes reversing original meaning. The problem is perfectly exemplified in words and quotes verbalized by Michelle Bachman or Sarah Palin. EG: ABC and the John Stewart quote reversal....they got caught.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  70. Angie

    Too much information is telling me about you accidentally cutting the cheese while talking on the air.
    Too much information is talking about gossip instead of the NEWS.

    But with all that put aside, Do we ever stop learning?
    Should we ever stop learning?

    Does that old saying hold true – that the day I die, is the day I stopped learning – ?

    So I throw it back to you, "is there such a thing as too much information?"

    December 10, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  71. Paul Willson

    Yes right now we are told too much about everything from the family life of so called celeberties to H1N1 . The latter has some people terrified. we could use a retreat to an information of a pre 24 hour news networks came to life .Sorry CNN

    December 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  72. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    It is not necessarily the too much information that is the main problem but rather the human being spending too much time on the same information that may not deserve all that time spent...for example I cannot stand reality shows just as I cannot stand hearing the same biais argument over and over again without signs of open minds and flexibilities since it ends up being a waste of all our time that can be use to move much faster and move forward. So, I have learn not to listen to the same argument; including my own! We need to challenge our minds with the informations!

    December 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  73. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, I would have to say "no". I would much rather have all the information and discard that which I don't want/need/believe, than miss some vital piece, germain to the issue. Bring it on, I'll process it and decide myself whether or not it is of any use.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  74. The Broker.

    It does not matter! Most of it is useless anyways.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  75. Aaron Peavler From Bliss Idaho

    Jack the issue is a safety hazard. people talk on the phone all the time those people need to put the electronics down and pay attention to what they are doing they could get themselves or others killed congress need to pass better laws to ban electronics from modes of transport and buildings. I think you need to stay on this topic.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  76. Lia in Bradenton

    Nope – an informed public is one that is best equipped to guard its freedom. What we do need are people who can logically evaluate the quality of the data and sources that they invite into their lives each hour.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  77. Randy from Salt Lake City

    No way, Jack! I'm anxiously awaiting the day when I will no longer have to carry around a blackberry or blue tooth, but instead will have an internet/communications device surgically implanted in my head. My goal is to become a robot!

    December 10, 2009 at 5:46 pm |
  78. Gail, Plano,Texas

    Life was so much better and easier before the advent of cell phones. People have conversations in supermarkets, cars, bookstores, hospitals, churches, airports, theaters, with little or no regard for the people around them. People at football games talking on the phone while game is in progress. Blackberries do not annoy but as u said Jack, they are distracting while walking down the street. Don't know how much information they are getting. But they keep talking about absolutely nothing!
    around them.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  79. EugeneWiese

    Some communicationslike the news, . become extremely redundant.Video games can be a complete waste.I think we have to start with the first ammendment,Ther's too much freedom of speech,and there are so many cases that are just common sense,and I think most people know who and what they are.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  80. EugeneWiese

    No! let go and let God. Gene

    December 10, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  81. Jim

    Jack,

    A lot of information being made available is one thing. Trying to assimilate all of it is a lost cause. The right answer, obviously, is to choose to focus your attention on those bits of information that are somehow relevant to your life. Give people time, they're still adapting to the information age.

    Jim

    December 10, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  82. Ron from SF

    Sure, every time I hear details about the sex life of some older, grossed out Republican–I say "T.M.I.". For example: Duke Cunningham, Larry Craig and Dusty Foggo. I don't want to know and prefer not to visualize that.

    December 10, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  83. Ed from California

    Yes......and it's all negative......Tiger!

    December 10, 2009 at 6:00 pm |
  84. karla

    Yes! It's to the point that your always 'in contact' and working. Expectations to live for the job are at an all-time high because it's possible and the devices purchased to make life easier seem to have become a burden. In previous jobs I can't tell you how many times I have been texted, emailed or called while on vacation or out of the office. Listening to politics all day will make you just as crazy. I turn off the TV and unplug on a regular basis and I don't apologize for it.
    Karla,
    Phoenix, AZ

    December 10, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  85. Marion/Alabama

    YES,some information is not worthy of one's time,Example S.C. Governors affairs,while others like the corruption of congress and their willingness to lie,cheat and steal,from the Tax payer goes mentioned vaguely.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  86. Laura

    Yes. A constant flow of incoming stimuli doesn't give the brain enough time to unwind and completely digest it all. People don't think deeply or thoroughly about most things, and very reactionary and impatient. Multi-tasking also lowers IQ. People have become attached to electronic devices and neglect their own physical health and people around them. It's kinda disgusting.
    Laura

    December 10, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  87. mark..in Houston

    Like fast food......the flood of info, most of which has nothing to do with truth or fact, .serves no purpose but to fill up the masses.

    .

    December 10, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  88. Craig in Illinois

    Yes the government has too much information and a lack of intelligence!

    December 10, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  89. Laura

    I should clarify that multi-tasking lowers IQ while one is multi-tasking.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  90. Jeff

    Jack:

    If you met my mother in law, you'd know what "too much information" means!

    December 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  91. Taylor

    Knowledge is power.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  92. David

    Not when it comes to the major news networks- it's almost the opposite for them.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  93. Laura

    I should clarify even more that what I mean if one is not paying full attention, one does not demonstrate the same amount of intelligence one could if one were. I.E.: driving.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  94. Katherine Hayes

    Jackie-me-boy!

    Your latest gripe is one I have had for years – and reminds me of a great bumper sticker I saw here in the Metro Boston area several years ago: HANG UP AND DRIVE!

    December 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  95. Janice Romeo

    Anything about Sarah Palin is too much information.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  96. JT

    Yes there is a thing called too much information. It's called 24 Hour news networks. Jane Velez Mitchell and Nancy Grace Top the list

    December 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  97. Frank McGucken

    Only if its used as a distraction for the REAL information needed. Tiger Woods ordeal is a great distraction from what REALLY matters to most Americans. Tell me why they haven't tracked down Osama Bin Laden via his Dialysis drugs. There can't be that many manufacturers and they ALL have lot numbers. How about information on the middle eastern pipeline or figures on the cost of these wars. That's the information I'm interest in receiving.
    (Monroe Ohio)

    December 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  98. Michael From Canada

    No, TMI No longer exists. However it's all about Quality now over Quantity. Even as I write this I am using Google Reader tracking several other different news feeds, checking my facebook and waiting for twitter updates, while watching CNN on the television waiting for text messages on my phone. And I am 32 years old. I could imagine what my daughter will be able to handle in the way of information by the time she gets to my age.

    In the future the weapon of choice will no longer be a rifle, but a webcam. We're already seeing how Digital Cameras are changing public opinion and policy through out the world.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  99. Dan from Santa Barbara, Ca

    I'm still not sure what you mean by that... Can you uplooad an instructional video so I can tweet my reaction to my college instructor who can in turn let me know if I have a valid point before I respond? I'll text you...

    December 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  100. Bobby Virk

    Its not how much informations jack, its how your process it and what do you do with it. We have filters to create our bubbles.

    Its a world with restrictive information that scares me.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  101. Michael Levy

    Too much information? No such thing. Gotta get back to driving.

    Sent from my iPhone

    December 10, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  102. Bogdan Rus

    In my oppinion i think if anything we need to be even more involved in technology. It is the future and it connects us all. The more information searched the faster newer and better technology will be brought to light. This perhaps can solve some of the worlds amazing questions

    December 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  103. BigJoeRice EdenPrairie MN

    It's not just that they use them in the bathroom, its that they insist on telling the rest of the world in lurid detail, and real time, how they're bathroom visit is going. That is the definition of too much information.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  104. Andrew

    The inane garbage most of us send and receive on our mobile devices can hardly be considered "information." If those trillions of hours were spent consuming meaningful, stimulating information I wouldn't be so bothered by the stranglehold technology has over our lives.

    Andrew in Los Angeles

    December 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  105. David, Long Island NY

    The mere fact I'm posting a comment on your blog is a testament in itself.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  106. Mike in Maryland

    Is there too much information? Yes, as CNN proved during the Michael Jackson story. Over the top does not begin to describe your "coverage".

    December 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  107. Karl from SF, CA

    God yes and most people can’t deal with it efficiently. Remember when news was doled out in small pieces? The morning news on TV, radio news breaks on the hour and half hour and the half hour of TV news at. Now if Hilary Clinton breaks a nail, Wolff will have to interview Sonja Gupta, 3 dermatologists, a cosmetic surgeon, the president of Lee press-on nails and a Revlon spokesman to be sure we’ve covered every boring detail. I guess I’m getting too old for all this knowledge.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  108. Ray Kinserlow

    Absolutely, Jack. You've seen LOL online, well it is TMI online also.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    December 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  109. Ken in NC

    It all depends Jack. If you know how to comprehend then there is no such thing as to much as you spin off that which is not needed. Of course if you are not knowledgable then in an effort to become knowledgable you retain everything someone says is the gospel truth. It's a good thing only 21% of the public self identifies as Republican.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  110. Ruby Zimmerman

    Here's a hint: YES!

    Ruby. Champaign, IL

    December 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  111. Becky

    I feel like I am drowning in information. Picture me in my living room with the coffee table full of books and magazines. The TV on CNN,
    The computer at ready. It is rather stressful but I think I can handle it.
    Becky
    Murfreesboro, TN

    December 10, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  112. Michael H. in Albuquerque, NM

    A democracy depends on an informed public. So, why not text me a message about what you had for lunch...
    There is so much information out there, coming from every direction, yet they still manage to remain ignorant. May I should invent a way to deliver the news up people butts. Maybe then they will see it.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  113. Bob In Florida

    Yes...absolutely there IS SUCH A THING as too much information Jack. What is FAR WORSE is that 90% of the information IS NOT TRUE....but people believe it anyway. SOOOO....do NOT believe that because we are absorbing so much more information, that we are somehow smarter. OH NO, no way.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  114. Brandon, Iowa

    There is no such thing as too much information, we can always learn something from everything we hear. There are limitations, however, such as while driving or getting from point A to point B. Information gives us the 411 on what's happening and keeping us up-to-date, but when it comes to a possibility of hurting someone else...put the Blackberry or cell phone down for just a moment.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  115. Jimmy

    It's called productivity! Just as I write this while checking Twitter, answering email, and watching CNN, Americans get more done these days. Some call it information overload, I call it progress.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  116. dave

    Yes Information is too much when you can't tell the difference between sense and garbage. If you receive so much data that you can not tell the difference between the truth and lies then the information is useless..

    December 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  117. Mohib

    T.S. Eliot said it best:

    Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
    Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

    December 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  118. Carol

    Jack, there can't be too much information - except, maybe about such things as Tiger's girlfriends - but there is such a thing as too little discipline as to when or where it's accessed. I suspect it's not the information people are craving as much as the connection and affirmation that someone's out there listening.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  119. ExplodingEye.com

    It's not the volume of information that is of concern. It is the agregious amount of disinformation and misinformation polluting our ability to form lucid thought. Too many people think JUST BECAUSE they see it, hear it or read it that facts are true. It's an infomation "virus" for which there is no cure.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  120. Dan From AZ

    Ignorance is bliss, but it still makes you stupid, Jack.
    Saying too much information is bad is like saying someone burying their head in the ground is a genius.
    Truth is empowering and enlightening; it cannot reduced to a variable in the growing Age of Technology.
    However, responsibility regarding information intake can be discussed without stupifying information itself.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  121. Rhett

    I think you define "information" too loosely – example: how can you compare learning about Health Care Reform to texting your vote to American Idol? We just have to learn to prioritize. Btw this is being written on my iPhone while I'm eating lunch in the bathroom.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  122. Luci - Pekin, IL.

    It depends on where or who you are getting the info. from.
    The Media is so far right that it is too much of the wrong information.
    Let us draw our own opinion, not yours.
    No wonder people are turning off the TV and getting online or texting etc.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  123. Karl from SF, CA

    [RESEND]
    God yes and most people can’t deal with it efficiently. Remember when news was doled out in small pieces? The morning news on TV, radio news breaks on the hour and half hour and the half hour of TV news at 6 and 11. Now if Hilary Clinton breaks a nail, Wolff will have to interview Sonja Gupta, 3 dermatologists, a cosmetic surgeon, the president of Lee press-on nails and a Revlon spokesman to be sure we’ve covered every boring detail. I guess I’m getting too old for all this knowledge.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  124. Stephanie Chapin

    There may be too much information now, however future historians, will be disappointed when there are no written documents to refer to. The majority will be lost in the electronic black hole.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  125. Harry - Baltimore, MD

    Hi Jack,

    Here is my contribution to TMI.

    Yes!

    Harry – Baltimore, MD

    December 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  126. Adam

    Jack,

    There is definitely such a thing as too much unfiltered information. What really matters is how we critically analyze such information. For many of us that means ignoring TV, and trying to increase the signal-to-noise ratio. I realize you folks at CNN don't want to hear this, but thoughtful people now generally acquire their news from niche sources. The others still consume it all like gluttons. Information today is an ala carte affair.

    Adam

    December 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  127. Gene Girard

    How can anyone complain that people are getting too much information and knowledge. Historically, we have been trending towards a better educated and knowledgeable citizen hand in hand with democracy. Granted, some logic and reason is necessary to separate the sense from the nonsense - I am sure there is a website that.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  128. Dennis

    No there's no such thing as "too much information". There is only a such thing: as "too much of the WRONG information" ie: too much coverage of the Tiger Woods situation and not enough coverage of Govt. Employees not held accountable enough.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  129. Matt in Atlanta

    I don't think so but I'm sure someone does. So, in this new Obama age of change we should just tax it in order to control it. And if the information is anything to the right of liberal thought we can cap and trade it!

    December 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  130. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    As the human species evolves the more information we digest the more synapse connections are formed in the brain. In other words, future generations become smarter.

    Of course there are those that possess antibodies that can thwart this development, for example Palin, Cheney, Bush, The Gate Crashers, Tiger Woods, etc.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  131. Kathie of Winter Park, Fl

    Absolutely, it makes the people who over use these devises feel important. It acutally makes them pathetic. They need to take a step back and rejoin the human race. They are a danger to themselves and everyone around them because they are not aware of what is going on around them. Useing any handheld device while driving needs to be outlawed in all 50 states. Doing so would probably bring the number of crases down considerably.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  132. Susan FL & IL

    We, American's, really don't produce anything......all we have done for years is PushDataAround. With SmartPhones it is even getting worse. The future American health problems will be spinal problems...as everyone today has their head down reading, texting, etc. etc. But at least the SmartPhones are allowing the people to MOVE vs the old fashioned computer system that required sitting all the time. So at least with SmartPhones, American's may lose some weight.....LOL

    December 10, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  133. Charles

    I agree, TMI. I see people everywhere including Church texting, emailing, chatting. I hate those "ear pieces". The other day i pulled up the gas pump to fuel up and a man at the other pump said "hi there, how are ya doing" I responded "great, how are you" I realized he was not talking to me at all but he was on the phone. I felt stupid and rejected. Who are these people talking too, aliens.lol

    December 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  134. Will Thornton

    I totally agree. We do absorb too much info. Last year I was at work and we are not allowed to have cell phones on us while at work. But some of the employees didn't want to leave.
    This means their cell phone is their life. They can't stop for maybe 5min and use their phone. Texting has become dangerous.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  135. Gordo, NJ

    Jack, I know it's wrong, but I've given up trying to understand 27-page credit card contracts, software licensing agreements, pharmaceutical inserts, website terms of service, and so forth because 99 percent of them are written with the intent to confuse. I propose a constitutional amendment that says no American is legally responsible for any contract over 500 words. That might also provide jobs for all the out-of-work journalists and English majors.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  136. Marcus

    Too much of any one thing is bad Jack. Too much sunlight gives you skin cancer, too much fun makes you unproductive. TMI leads to the proliferation of MISinformation. The only way to avoid the confusion, uncertainty and naivete which necessarily results from the ocean of information out there is old fashioned discernment. People have to be able to distinguish between fact and opinion, scholarship and blog-er-y. It might even help for reputable news sources to exercise some journalistic integrity and value quality information over fast information. But then again Jack, that would require us paying the costs of good information, and why pay for the truth when we get to swim in lies for free?

    December 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  137. Von

    You caught me ! I am sitting here watching your show, working on my laptop and blogging/ emailing with my iPod. I do believe in tmi, but sometimes it is the only way to keep up with an overwhelming life. I try to begin "shutting" down at 9 am every night, but I love the ascention ring tone alarm on my mp3 player!

    December 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  138. Robyn

    Well Jack, too much information is a bit ludicrous, if you ask me. Information is needed in this day and age, because without it, we'd all be left in the dark. You'd miss references that could heavily affect you if you aren't, shall we say, 'with the times'. Even the silly acronyms, like TMI, are starting to pop up everywhere. I say embrace the information overload.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  139. Will

    In this age, I believe the old G.I. Joe saying states it best, "Knowing Is Half The Battle." The more information you have better decisions can be made about anything. It's only going to get worse as the power of technology increases and its integrations into our daily lives. Smart Homes, Smart Cars, Smart Roads, Smart Grids and etc. America just have to use or ability to adapt to cope with the increasing information flow and leverage the information to our benefit.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  140. steve in virginia

    It's possible but doesn't happen nowadays unless you consider blather, propaganda, and misinformation to be information. If we had too much information or even enough information, I doubt we would have elected Obama. Or most of our elected officials for that matter. Nor would we fall for a lot of the scams that we do, political and otherwise. Nor would we buy a lot of the products we do. Nor would we...

    December 10, 2009 at 6:17 pm |
  141. Ryan, Galesburg IL

    I'm sorry, I was distracted by the other 7 websites I have open. What were you saying?

    December 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  142. Margaret, Toronto

    Jack, Yes there is too much information. I don't need to have a phone when I'm out of my home. I have an answering machine, if someone needs to get me they may leave a message. It really bothers me to be in a line at a check out at the Grocery store and someone is yapping on their phone. I don't need to know their personal information. Just look at what has happened to Tiger Woods, if he had been more circumspect we might never had known of his stupid lifestyle (in this case that might have been a good thing having too much information)

    December 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  143. lou

    Being well informed about what is going on in your world around you is a good thing. But these days there is too much junk information. I don't need to know every detail about Michael Jackson's dying moments or how many times the bubble boys parents were reported to the authorities. Sorry Jack, but cable news is drowning us in stuff Harry Cronkite wouldn't have wiped his boots on.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  144. Spanky in Chicago

    Never have we had access to so much information and yet been so ill informed on so many topics. It's the quality, not the quantitiy that matters.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  145. Dennis D.

    Mr. Cafferty, I dont agree that too much information is a bad thing at all we are just more connected now than ever before. Look at how critical intel is in the military. Imagine where CNN would be if nobody cared about getting info on whats going on in the world. I do agree though that it is bad news to use a cell phone for example while driving, that needs to be banned. Happy early birthday BTW & Merry Christmas

    December 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  146. Larry in Pasadena, Ca.

    Jack, this is a hopelessly subjective question. The only way to answer it is for the individual to determine what is "information", as opposed to "useless drivel". Then again, there are those who suffer from sort of an "information addiction" who seem to have to know everything, useful or not. Help is available!

    December 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  147. Esther Massillon Ohio

    to much information. gigo you know that it means garbage in garbage out. computer term. We can find more information each day on our computers than we could on them 30 years ago. We use to get our news daily now we get all the countries in the world's news and sometimes I wish it was 30 years ago and I was ignorant of the other countries. One's man trash is another man's treasure. I read a lot more trash than treasures everyday.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  148. Dennis, Columbus, Ohio

    We consistently hear about our poor education system and now we here from you Jack that we are getting much more information than ever before (3 1/2 times).

    These can not be mutually exclusive.

    So here is my question to you: What is the quality and usability of the information?

    December 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  149. shelly

    Jack,

    I tried for years to play ostrich to all of the technological advances going on around me. I finally learned to use a computer because a good friend bought me one. I am still very wary of any of my personal information flying around in ciber space. I believe that not olny do we have too much information, we are not shy enough to protect it. I say a small prayer ever day that one of my friends doesn't walk up to me and say I saw your daughter on U-Tube yesterday.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  150. Harold Sapp

    No, just way too much misinformation

    December 10, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  151. Joseph Kavanaugh

    Jack,
    Too much information is good if all benefit from it. An Old Chinese guy once said, If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day but if you teach that man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime...This apply's to information. If only some benefit from too much information, nothing is really gained, but if everyone gained from this information we would prosper as a nation. Not everyone is being INFORMed Jack.

    Postal Joe
    Rock Hill NY

    December 10, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  152. Boomer in Mo

    Americans as a rule are afraid to be alone with their own thoughts. I travel in my car with the cell phone OFF, the radio is usually OFF, no tape or CD is running. In other words, it's pretty quiet, and I can hear myself think. I think shutting out the world from time to time keeps me sane, although others might disagree.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  153. Kathy, Willcox, Arizona

    There's an old saying. "Ignorance is bliss". Does that answer your question Jack?

    December 10, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  154. Rory

    I was actually thinking about this today during work. There really is too much information and to many ways to distribute it. Its too much. I am not a robot, but my employer wants one. Everything happens so fast and we need to slow down and take a deep breath. Sometimes that camping trip with your dad was worth the "roughing it".
    I wonder what would happen if the World Wide Web is turned off. I think we need to do that for a while so we can be humans again and not remote storage devices.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  155. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    The more you Know the more you know their is to Know. Or stupid is as stupid does.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  156. C.K.

    Jack, with the infinite amount of information available with the click of a mouse, yes, we truly have more information available to us than we know what to do with. Technology has allowed us to get our hands on any information we want. Frankly, I don't feel comfortable that my entire life exists somewhere online, which can easily be manipulated or even stolen. Too much information – that's an understatement!

    December 10, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  157. norm vance

    Too much info?

    Their is a huge computer, larger by far than any other. They collected all the information known to man and put it in the computer. They pondered for days thinking of what the first question they should ask it. Finally, the head "they" picked up a mic and asked, "Is there a God?" The computer replied, "There is now."

    Yes, we are overdosed on infomation but, don't take my Discovery, NGS or CNN away.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  158. Paul S

    Yes, we have WAY too much information of the wrong kind. We don't need to know what kind of underwear celebrities wear, or how their marriage is going, or how to get 12 pairs of socks for 2 dollars.. We DO need to know what's REALLY going on behind the scenes in political manipulations, and we need to know more about things that affect our health and safety.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  159. Robert Thomson

    With all this information you'd think we'd be a lot smarter than we seem to be. If we were receiving high quality information we'd be in great shape as a nation. The problem here is that we are receiving large quantities of low quality information and our crap detectors have never been properly tuned. We love to latch onto input from the "birthers" and "tea baggers" and we hear such things as "we don't torture" and "weapons of mass destruction", etc., etc. and many of us accept it at face value without a second thought. When will we ever learn to qualify the information we receive?

    Bob from Southfield, Michigan

    December 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  160. Gat Lemoine

    Jack,

    I just watched my wife walk in the room with the house phone on her ear while looking and finding her iPhone so that she could look up info for the person on the phone with her. She also glanced at the TV to see what you were saying as she walked out of the room.

    We don't really know how much our brains can do and I'm still waiting for the implant of the iphone and tv receiver that is voice activated so I don't have to type on this little screen.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  161. Annie, Atlanta

    No. Having information at my fingertips is wonderful. But I don't own a hand held device. However, I do find the personal information on the rich and famous offensive. It would be ok to draw the line there, especially on "news" programs.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  162. Burd

    I feel that in order to answer the question we need to define information. If it is anything and everything, with no kind of limitations in terms of necessary qualities, than yes. We as Americans truly are bombarded with too much 'information'. However, if we are to understand information as academic or substantial knowledge than I do not think so. In that understanding of the word, there is no such thing as too much information unless the person believes that ignorance truly is bliss. However in this definition, information is all relative as well.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  163. Joseph

    I can't think about that right now. I'm busy reading Wolf's twitter while studying for my math and science exams, and I'm taking my driver's test tomorrow.

    Joe in Delray Beach, Florida

    December 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  164. RichP the Pocono's

    The iPhone has solved that age old problem, now you don't have to carry a book, magazine or newspaper in to the can with you and draw stares from co-workers, just keep the volume down on those videos...

    December 10, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  165. Paul Romportl

    Hi Jack,

    Here's the problem....when spending time with electronic communications in your life...how much time is too much time...and how much time is too little...I mean...where do you draw the line????

    Paul Romportl
    Chanhassen MN

    December 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  166. Dennis D.

    updated:

    Mr. Cafferty, I dont agree that too much information is a bad thing at all we are just more connected now than ever before. Look at how critical intel is in the military. Imagine where CNN would be if nobody cared about getting info on whats going on in the world. Heck, we even got the Wolf man tweeting now.

    I would agree though that it is bad news to use a cell phone for example while driving anything, that needs to be banned- as its been proven to be the reason for far too many deadly accidents. Happy early birthday BTW & Merry Christmas

    December 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  167. Mary Harper-McAvoy

    Jack, evolution has hard wired our brains to receive pleasure and satisfaction from working with our hands and to have a keep a healthy balance between our right and left hemisphere. All this new technology and information coming at us keeps us mired in our left brain causing anxiety and depression. The issue isn't just the length hours spent absorbing all the information, it's also the amount of information that's crammed into every minute (including news shows that boast "more stories per hour." So hit all those power buttons and go out and build a bookcase or work in the garden.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  168. Jon, NC

    As I'm writing this I noticed that I have my iPod, laptop, PSP gaming system, and my cell phone within arms reach or in my backpack (which is filled with text books and books for entertainment). There may be such a thing as too much information, yes. However, that abundance of information attacking us from all sides is far better than waiting weeks to receive letters from loved ones. How many people in rural America heard about WWII days after it broke out because they had to wait for the newspaper to be delivered?

    December 10, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  169. Alex from St Thomas

    Remembering 20 years ago, when no cell phone, just beepers! yes, it is a lot of info coming along! yes, i do sleep with the BB by my bed side and it seems a necesity for most of business people...what did we become?

    December 10, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  170. dick from indiana

    Information infulenza is a byproduct of our economic progress. If we went back to horse power everyone would have a job and we would all be as dumb as Sarah Palin.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  171. Phyllis G Williams

    Man must be preparing himself, because he is warned in:
    Matthew 10: 26; Mark 4: 22; Luke 8: 17 & 12: 2"

    There is nothing hid , which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret but that it should come abroad" "If any man have ears to hear. let him hear" – Mark

    December 10, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  172. Joseph Kavanaugh

    Too much of ANYTHING is not good Jack!!!

    Postal Joe
    Rock Hill NY

    December 10, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  173. Dan, Poughkeepsie NY

    It depends on what the information is: It could be something useful like the health care bill, or it could be something utterly useless, like "what are you doing right now?" It also depends on where and how that information is received: Getting an email on your laptop is extremely different from getting a text message in your car on the way to work.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  174. Tom in Iowa

    Jack, my son came over to visit with my grandkids the other day. While they was here he was constantly on his damn phone texting, tweeting or whatever he was doing and his wife spent all her time on the computer surfing the internet. Whats next? A device that is implanted where the sun don't shine that you use without ever having to get up off your lazy butt. Please choose me to help them install those.

    Tom in Iowa

    December 10, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  175. A. Smith, Oregon

    Jack, its amazing how much information American federal agency's collects on all of its citizens. It is so much, even the brutal East Berlin security forces would be jealous.

    With Billions of dollars being funneled to the Mexican Cartels, they have paid associates in the US Customs, US Border Patrol, State Police, FBI Field Offices and whenever the Cartels have need for YOUR or someones expanded, detailed records they provide them.

    Jack, information is deemed as valuable as 'GOLD' and in the wrong hands it can destroy an entire society.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  176. Will

    In this age, I believe the old G.I. Joe saying states it best with "Knowing Is Half The Battle." The more information you have the more informed decision an individual can make on about anything. It's only going to get worse as the power of technology increases and its integrations into our daily lives. Smart Homes, Smart Cars, Smart Roads, Smart Grids and etc. America just have to use our ability to adapt to cope with the increasing information flow and leverage the information to our benefit.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  177. Jean

    I do agree that there is just too much information which takes up our time. No exception through the Media.
    I have seen co-workers at lunchtime eating and speaking on their cellphones. There are some people who are addicted to cellphones. No exception telephones in general. Wherever they are they are talking on their cellphones. They have no time to converse with their co-workers on breaks and lunch times. There are those who steal chances and employers time and talk on their cellphone at work. They could also text from work. This is a problem and a serious one at that. I consider it a sad situation.
    Some months ago in Toronto a woman was coming from work. She was talking on her cellular which obviously distracted her. As she crossed the street, she walked right into a truck and was instantly killed. The driver had right of way.
    Drivers who talk on their cellphones and text have caused accidents, injuries and some fatal ones.
    In Toronto, it is now against the Law to drive and talk on cellphones and text. If caught, they will be fined. If they continue to do so and are caught again, they will be imprisoned. Their licences may be suspended for repeat offenders.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  178. chris barbrack

    Information is defined as something that reduces uncertaintity.

    The obsession with neo communication devices is amusing since most people have nothing to say most of the time. What they do pass along does not reduce uncertaintity. Please

    December 10, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  179. The Broker.

    One small scrap of info, and John Grisham turns it into Fiction that is believable. I try myself. But I have a long way to go still. But that is what happens on DVD's. And kids love this stuff.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  180. Michael and Diane Phoenix AZ

    We don't know if we really get too much information, the problem is that too much of the "information" is inaccurate and not verifyable so sometimes one does not know what is correct and what is false or misleading, ala the last election with Palin and McCain. The so-called "sound bites" we get on the news is very misleading.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  181. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    No, there is never too much information because information depends on how the listener receives information and that's the problem.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  182. Mark

    There is no such thing as too much information. Today's technology allows humans to share information at a faster pace than at any other time in history and although access to information and education is becoming more easily accessible through the internet that doesn't seem to give the majority of people in this country the desire to learn about important issues that should matter to them such as their personal health of the health of this planet.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  183. James from Tennessee

    It only becomes too much when the media becomes fixated on stories the general public could really care less about (i.e., Tiger Woods' "transgressions"). We all have brains, you know, but I wonder how many in our society don't even bother using them.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  184. Bill from Kansas

    Of course their is Jack. Americans are buried everyday with newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and tabloid trash. Personally I wouldn't mind not hearing about Tiger Woods every 24 hours.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  185. NC Breeze

    Never enough! Just sort it so we can find it.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  186. John

    The problem is not that there's too much information but that the average person does so little with it. In one ear and out the other.

    So, why are we so compelled to eat up all this worthless information? I blame the the media...

    Seattle, WA

    December 10, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  187. Brett Ocean City, NJ

    I don't think the problem lies in "too much information" as much as it deals with the inability of many Americans to distinguish the validity of the things we consume. More and more we encounter people who mindlessly swallow facts, figures, and even ideologies without asking themselves where and who it comes from. Gone by the wayside are independent thought and skepticism. Let's go teachers and professors, leave the agendas outside the the classroom and focus our young people on coming up with their own ideas using the amazing resources we have at our disposal in todays age.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  188. Guy from Hawaii

    Aloha Jack,
    Here's what I think...Oh wait, my cell phone is ringing, my computer is showing me I got mail, the satellite dish guys are here, the bill collectors are calling on my house phone, my dog is eating the National Enquirer article about Tiger Woods, my son's thumbs are sprained from text messaging and as soon as this magic jack commercial is over I can find out whose blogging, twittering and tweeting on CNN... What was the question again?

    December 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  189. Adam in Newfoundland

    Most of the "information" we get nowadays is garbage. There is no such thing as TMRI, too much REAL information, for, as the saying goes, knowledge is power!

    December 10, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  190. Tom from Vermilion, Ohio

    The problem is that there is too much mis-information. I say this because when you hear politicians and the media use untrue statements as a propaganda tool to fulfill their agendas, it is sad to say a lot of the voter base is going to buy it. If enough people believe the world will end in the next year. By golly they COULD make it so!

    December 10, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  191. Divya

    It's not a case of too much information, rather "some" of the "same" information 24×7 from multiple sources. There is definite overload of misinformation, and in the times when "ignorance is bliss," there's a collective tendency to fall for the misinformation- it's easy, convenient and there- on a platter!

    Divya, Utica, NY

    December 10, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  192. Bruce - Delaware

    Only too much corrupt politically spun from the status quo. It takes a lot of work to get past the mainstream lies like Gore saying the emails are over ten years old!

    December 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  193. Jean

    I forgot to mention. It is not only Americans. It is also Canadians, European and other parts of the world. Internet serves a good purpose. It has also got us closer and we are able to send emails and information in a matter of minutes, if not seconds, there is no privacy. Another problem is people can obtain the address, telephone number and city/country where others reside over the Internet. Consider those enterprises whom we do business with. Our personal information is recorded in their computers and permanentaly. There really is too much information. We do have serious problem.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  194. Netherland Washington

    TMI?!? Most definitely, I was attempting to conduct business with a someone, who had decided to return my call from what clearly sounded as though she were in a bathroom stall. I could hear every unwanted sound effect. When do you draw the line, as to where and when you use the phone. Needless to say, I immediately ended our call, and told her we would not be conducting business...GROSS!

    December 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm |
  195. Karen Conine

    No, Jack our brains are like sponges, soaking up everything. We are like babies again.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:45 pm |
  196. Remo, from beautiful downtown Pflugerville, Texas

    Yes!

    End data stream.

    December 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm |
  197. Phyllis G Williams

    Your comment is awaiting moderation

    Man must be preparing himself, because he is warned in
    Matthew 10: 26; Mark 4: 22; Luke 8: 17 & 12: 2

    "There is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested, neither was
    any thing kept secret but that it should come abroad" "If any man have ears to hear let him hear" – Mark

    December 10, 2009 at 6:46 pm |