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Metrics can get really strange — especially on the scale of national consumption. Information consumption is one such area that has a lot of strange metrics to offer. A new report from the University of California, San Diego entitled ‘How Much Information?’ reveals that in 2008 your average American consumed 34 gigabytes per day. These values are entirely estimates of the flows of data delivered to consumers as bytes, words and hours of consumer information.
From the executive summary: ‘In 2008, Americans consumed information for about 1.3 trillion hours, an average of almost 12 hours per day. Consumption totaled 3.6 zettabytes and 10,845 trillion words, corresponding to 100,500 words and 34 gigabytes for an average person on an average day. A zettabyte is 10 to the 21st power bytes, a million million gigabytes. These estimates are from an analysis of more than 20 different sources of information, from very old (newspapers and books) to very new (portable computer games, satellite radio, and Internet video). Information at work is not included.’ Has the flow and importance of information really become this prolific in our daily lives?