I haven't re-read Shenk's book Data Smog yet, but I found the following post by him on Slate.Com made in 2007. He makes several observations about the current state of the information glut including talking about the vastly improved tools to filter the data coming at you. Google, RSS feeds, Readers, E-mail filters are all tools I need to master in order to avoid getting overwhelmed by the torrent of data coming at me.
The danger of being too connected is still there though and I think that in order to become a good problem solver, you need to be able to unplug yourself from the 'net and focus on the problem. A quote from his article highlights the dangers of constant interruptions. "We now know, for example, that it takes an experienced computer user an average of 15 minutes to return to "serious mental tasks" after answering e-mail or instant messages." My coworkers have become enamored with the Chat function in Windows but that message box popping up becomes annoying. That and the fact that my deskbar remains in the foreground, blocking what I'm working on whenever an IM arrives prevents me from focusing intently on whatever I'm working on. The best thing is to leave my desk and go in the lab where I cannot be disturbed as easily.