I bet you didn’t know that the average American consumes 34 gigabytes or the equivalent of 100,000 words over 11 hours a day from all media sources. I would assume there are similar numbers for other countries.

What does that mean to you? It means you probably spend way too much time consuming content, but that’s neither here nor there.

What it really means is that we’re all overloaded with information, communication and entertainment and our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. But then, you already knew that. So what’s the big epiphany?

Did you ever stop to consider that, if you’re spending more and more time generating more and more content that people have less and less attention for and interest in, then maybe, just maybe, you might want to focus on doing less and having a greater impact?

If you buy into that premise, and you should, let me introduce you to a concept called media overexposure. If people see too much of you, they get sick of seeing your face. More to the point, they become sort of numb to your presence and stop paying attention to anything you have to say. The same thing happens if you spam them with stuff they could care less about and waste their precious time.

The way to avoid that is by blogging, posting, tweeting, updating, emailing, texting, calling – whatever form your communication or marketing takes – only what matters. Not what matters to you, what matters to them.

If you don’t know what matters to them or even exactly who “them” is, then you don’t have much of a marketing or communication strategy and you probably shouldn’t be sharing anything at all until you figure it out.

The best example I know of this sort of thing is Apple. Apple has a starkly minimalist communication strategy. They only communicate when they’ve got something important to say, and when I say important, I don’t mean important to Apple, I mean important to their users.

The result of that kind of strategy is what’s called a media vacuum. You know what happens when there’s a vacuum in place of information people want to know? The media gets sucked into the vacuum. That’s what creates a buzz. That’s a good thing. And it only happens when you go dark.

There’s an old line: How can I miss you when you won’t go away? Same thing.

Most highly accomplished entrepreneurs and business leaders understand this concept. We actually have a number of terms to describe people that don’t understand it. We call them self-serving, self-promoting, attention seeking, spamming, egotistical blowhards that do more harm than good for their business.

Some say if you want to be heard over the noise, make sure your content is crystal clear and to the point. That’s absolutely true. But that assumes what you’re saying is even relevant to whomever you’re saying it to. The vast majority of content blasted at me everyday doesn’t even come close to meeting that criterion.

Since I’m sure you want to avoid being called any of those unpleasant terms, here’s what I want you to do. Before you blog, tweet, retweet, post, email, or message anything, ask yourself if it’s something that whoever’s at the other end of the pipe will find useful in some material way.

If not, don’t do it. Less is more. And yes, I do follow my own advice.

Image credit Jon Wallach via Flickr