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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

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Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Today's Big Idea: Information Over-Consumption

The Big Idea for Friday, October 26, 2012

The "low information voter" (LIV) is a term coined by the political scientist Samuel Popkin. These voters are regarded as a poorly informed section of the electorate who tend to make voting decisions based on superficial information. 

The political class has great reverence for these voters, as they tend to decide elections. On the other hand, this reverence is matched with disdain, even cynicism. Low information voters, the thinking is, are too distracted by the Kardashians to perform their civic duty and pay attention to the presidential election. 

We are all bombarded by information during a presidential election, a condition that Clay Johnson refers to as information over-consumption. Johnson argues we need to have a healthy information diet, just as we need a healthy diet of food. That doesn't mean tuning out and watching the Kardashians. It also doesn't mean obsessing over every poll that is released, either. Johnson suggests a healthy balance, that is based on what we need, not what we want. 




  1. 1 An Information Diet for the 2012 Election: Tips from the Experts
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 How Not to Spend Your Whole Day on Facebook
    Charles Duhigg
  3. 3 Leveraging Our "Cognitive Surplus"
    Clay Shirky
  4. 4 Information Obesity: Take Responsibility, Fatty.
    Clay Johnson

Today's Big Idea: Informati...

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