Information overloads of the social system and its social conseguences

Information overloads of the social system and its social conseguences

Ignatyev V.I.

Dr. Sci. (Philos.), Professor, Department of Sociology and Mass Communications, Novosibirsk State Technical University, Russia

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Ignatyev V.I. Information overloads of the social system and its social conseguences. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2017. No 7. P. 3-12


The article analyses some of the social, anthropological and psychological effects of informatization of the society, first of all, the phenomenon of information overload and information anomie. Dramatic growth of information flows and information overload are the result of information explosion, stretched in time as the process of global informatization and information-computer revolution. The author formulates and tests а hypothesis, that information flows are hacking the social structure and lead to its qualitative transformation. The information explosion is a process of accelerated information growth and accelerated emergence of new products of human activity, rapid obsolescence of knowledge and information. The author defines information as the substance of modern society as unity of senses and communication. Substance is the unity of the substrate and functions. The article deals with the transformation of the mechanism of social interaction under the influence of information overload. The author describes the process of splitting social action into real and virtual action and defines the real human action as the action aimed at another specific actually existing individual. Virtual action is an imaginary action of a real human aimed at an imaginary individual. The author introduces the categories of “social reality” and “social actuality” in theoretical sociology. “Social reality” is defined as a fictional individual picture of social life. It is constantly reproduced in the public consciousness. These fictional paintings are formed in the mind of every person’s private “picture of social reality”. It is in these pictures that the life of the individual takes place. The pictures of “social reality” organize the individual’s life, because they contain information about the values and meanings of life, directions to the target and resource information. The author designates these individual pictures of the world as “virtuals”. The research opens and analyzes the process of social action mutation. The excess of information creates a special anomie, namely the dramatically increased number of competing models of role behavior. So there is a special phenomenon of information society – “information anomie “. Information anomie is the reason of individual freedom growth. The author believes that increasing the set of elements, from which new types of social action and interaction norms can be “built”, leads to a qualitative transformation of the social structure. The author also finds that there is a tendency to system actions splitting. There is a “window of opportunity” opened for people: to go either to the world of the virtual reality, or to the world of social actuality. In the second case, the space of social life is doubled and parallel social worlds are formed. The author defines the virtual social action as a result of a fictional and symbolic interactions modeling. Virtual action and interaction are designed as an illusionary impact of one person to another. These illusions are reproduced in the imagination of both individuals. In virtual reality humans “invent” the properties of the objects of the surrounding world on the basis of their fantasies, they give values of objects and phenomena of social world, which cannot be explained. Thus, virtualization of social life takes place by means of symbolic substitution of actual world parts by artificially constructed meanings.

information explosion; information overload; the mechanism of communication; information as substance; mutation of social action


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Content No 7, 2017