- 10 Dec 09, 09:10 GMT
Does your head ever feel like it is about to explode because of the number of e-mails you read, videos you trawl though, websites you browse, blogs you consume, programmes you watch, games you play and media you download?
In the States, Americans not only have a reputation for muffin tops and lardiness but it seems they can also add information overload to the count.
A survey just released by the Global Information Industry Centre of San Diego University reveals that households in the US consumed a mind boggling total of 3.6 zettabytes of data and 10,845 trillion words in 2008.
Zettabytes haven't exactly become common parlance yet and according to Wikipedia a ZB is a "unit of information or computer storage equal to one sextillion bytes." The university says a zettabyte is 1,000,000,000 trillion bytes.
Those explanations don't really cut it, but the brains behind this report have said it is equal to covering the continental United States and Alaska in a 7ft high stack of thick paperback novels.
The aim of this report called How Much Information is to look at all forms of American communication and consumption in a bid to create a census of the information consumed.
So where is it all coming from? Exactly where you expect as this graph shows.
What is more surprising is that while I think I never have time to read books, it seems on average I actually gorge on around 100,000 words of information a day.
What the study says that really means is that all those words are hurtling headlong via various channels like TV, radio, the internet, texts, videos, tweets and so on.
In the age of the internet though it is the goggle box that is winning out.
People averaged around five hours watching TV and 2.2 hours listening to the radio. The computer comes in third at just under two hours, video games an hour and reading a poor and distant fifth place with just a half an hour of time.
"The report is a snapshot of what the information revolution means to the average American on an average day," says report author Roger Bohn who is also the Centre's director.
Surprisingly gaming saw a big leap with 18.5 gigabytes per day for the average consumer - that's about 67% of all bytes consumed says the report.
In a piece of good news for all those social/casual gaming companies out there, the study notes that around 80% of the population plays some kind of computer game, including casual games such as my favourite, Bookworm and the like.
Mr Bohn says:
"Games are almost universal, but most of the gaming bytes comes from graphically intensive games on high-powered computers and consoles, which have the equivalent of special-purpose supercomputers from five years ago."
Gazing to the future, the Centre say the information landscape will change by 2015 thanks to the widespread use of HDTV, mobile TV and video over the internet.
The report acknowledges that as information consumption is expected to continue to grow, there are some real problems to worry about.
"What is clear is that we consume orders of magnitude more information than can be stored on hard drives or transmitted over today's internet," says Internet pioneer Larry Smarr and the director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology.
"Even small changes in how Americans consume information would have serious implications for network planners and require large-scale investments."
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