Americans consume 100,000 words of information each day, study says

The average American consumes 100,000 words, or about 34 gigabytes of information, every day, according to a new report. As a nation, that's 3.6 million million gigabytes of info in 2008.

The average American consumes 100,000 words, or about 34 gigabytes of information, every day, according to a new report.

As a nation, that's 3.6 zettabytes of information in 2008.

(A zettabyte is a million million gigabytes of data. Considering that your computer's hard drive stores a couple hundred gigabytes, that's a heck of a lot of information. )

report published Wednesday by the University of California, San Diego takes a census of the data consumption of American households and found that the average American consumes 100,000 words each day from all channels: TV, newspapers, online, music and more.

The paper, entitled "How Much Information?" demonstrates that Americans are serious data hounds -- so much so, in fact, that your brain processes information from all those channels to the tune of almost an entire King James Bible each week.

According to the study, Americans consume 11.8 hours of information a day, on average.

That breaks down in the following way:

  • Television: 4.91 hours per day
  • Computer: 1.93 hours per day
  • Radio: 2.22 hours per day
  • Computer games: 0.93 hours per day
  • Phone: 0.73 hours per day
  • Print: 0.60 hours per day
  • Recorded music: 0.45 hours per day
  • Movies: 0.03 hours per day

Much of that data consumption happens at the same time, in what we all like to call "multitasking."

More great insights from the study:

  • Americans read less print media as an overall percentage of their information consumption, but they're actually reading more than ever in quantity.
  • From 1980 to 2008, the number of bytes we consume has increased 6 percent each year. Over 28 years, that's a 350 percent increase.
  • Video game consumption saw the biggest leap in time spent. That's not just video games as you know them, but also games on your phone and on social media sites such as Facebook.

AT&T, Cisco Systems, IBM, Intel, LSI, Oracle and Seagate Technology funded the research.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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