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Data Data

How much time people waste looking for lost information, how fast the World Wide Web is growing, and other statistics from the front lines of the info glut.
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3,062 Number of U.S. newspaper and magazine articles published in the past two years that talk about information overload

15,652 Number of Web sites discussing information overload

2,892 Number of titles in the Library of Congress in which the word stress appears

454 Number of documents added to Lexis-Nexis each minute

40% Percentage of workers who say their duties are interrupted more than six times an hour by intrusive communications

4 Number of times in two days that an Inc. editor's duties were interrupted by intrusive communications from publicists touting the information watershed of Lexis-Nexis's moving to the Web

50% Percentage of U.S. professionals who repeatedly receive messages that say the same thing

25% Percentage of Inc. 500 survey respondents who consider their own employees to be among the worst sources of data smog at their companies

190 Number of messages in all media sent and received daily by the average Fortune 1,000 office worker

80% Percentage of information that is filed but never used

150 Hours that the average person spends looking for lost information each year

71% Percentage of workers who say their main job is tracking down information

44% Percentage of managers who believe the cost of collecting information exceeds its value to their business

8 : 1 Ratio of articles found on-line to those in newspapers

45% Percentage of U.S. households that watch TV and use computers simultaneously

1 Seconds it takes the World Wide Web to expand by 17 pages

7,349,000 Projected increase in the number of URLs between 1997 and 2002

18,300,000 Increase in the number of fax machines in the United States since 1987

2,809,000 Increase in tons in the amount of paper used in offices from 1984 to 1998

6,000 Number of titles offered at the Kiosk, a newsstand on Broadway in New York City

86 Number of daily television newscasts in New York City

33% Percentage increase in the possibility that a satellite will be hit by another satellite or by a piece of space junk (material used to launch satellites) compared with five years ago

122 Number of E-mail messages generated in the process of compiling this index

$25,000 Amount that an executive earning $60,000 a year is being paid just to read

50¢ If you're an executive earning $60,000, amount it cost you to read these statistics

Data Data Sources
1) Lexis-Nexis; 2) Alta Vista; 3) Library of Congress Web site; 4) www.lexis-nexis.com; 5) Pitney Bowes's "Workplace Communications in the 21st Century" study; 6) Inc. senior editor Leigh Buchanan; 7) Same as 5; 8) Inc. informationoverload survey; 9) Same as 5; 10, 11) Hemphill & Associates, Raleigh, N.C.; 12) Same as 5; 13) Reuters Business Information Survey; 14) The Delahaye Group, Portsmouth, N.H.; 15) MediaMetrix, New York City; 16) NEC Research Institute; 17) www.e-land.com; 18) Dataquest, San Jose, Calif.; 19) CAP Ventures, Norwell, Mass.; 20) The Kiosk; 21) The New York Post; 22) Analytical Graphics, Malvern, Pa.; 23) Same as 6; 24) www.evelynwood.com.au; 25) Same as 6.


More on Data Smog

  • Read an except from Data Smog by David Shenk
  • Smog Lifters: Tips to cut through info deluge from Tripod's Bo Peabody, author Andrew Tobias, MIT's Nick Negroponte, and more
Last updated: Jan 1, 1999




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