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Information fatigue syndrome

Perhaps you shouldn’t be reading this. The term was coined in a recent report from Reuters News Agency, called Dying for Information?, which argued that many people are becoming highly stressed through trying to cope with the huge amounts of information flooding them from books, fax messages, the telephone, journals, and the Internet. The symptoms of Information Fatigue Syndrome include “paralysis of analytical capacity”, “a hyper-aroused psychological condition”, and “anxiety and self-doubt”, leading to “foolish decisions and flawed conclusions”. It is a problem which the report argues particularly affects the group called knowledge workers whose jobs mainly involve dealing with and processing information. The term is obviously based on the name of the medical condition chronic fatigue syndrome and is abbreviated to IFS. Though it is a phrase that sounds as if it ought to catch on, sightings have been rare except in news items about the report itself, so this one may never make it into the dictionaries.

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Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 28 Dec. 1996

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The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-inf1.htm
Last modified: 28 December 1996.