If it is true that “how you do one thing is how you do everything,” then Americans are right on track with their consumption habits, both in terms of food and information. Among his observations, The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson points out how the info-glut on the Internet doesn’t exactly lead to a more accurately informed public. —KA
I think there are two things going on here. The first part is demand. Our willingness to pay hundreds of dollars for Internet access—and often not a penny in exchange for specific pieces of Internet content—depreciates the perceived value of the newspaper articles and songs we access “for free.” As a result, the same way an all-expenses-paid resort encourages over-eating, our all-content-paid access to the Internet encourages us to gorge on both high and low quality information.
The second part is supply. The same way our obesity epidemic is fueled by outrageous oversupply of corn products, our information addiction is goaded by the Internet’s superabundance of content that free software and low barriers to entry make incredibly easy to produce online.