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.Disaggregating, the study compared the content source per word:
source: How Much Information at 12
Nick Bilton from the New York Times Bits blog explains that this "doesn’t mean we read 100,000 words a day -- it means that 100,000 words cross our eyes and ears in a single 24-hour period."
Measuring per word attempts to "normalize" for the differing information bandwidths involved, though that undercounts television and movies (where dialogue isn't continuous) and video games (where dialogue is rare). Still, it's interesting:
computers have had major effects on some aspects of information consumption. In the past, information consumption was overwhelmingly passive, with telephone being the only interactive medium. Thanks to computers, a full third of words and more than half of bytes are now received interactively. Reading, which was in decline due to the growth of television, tripled from 1980 to 2008, because it is the overwhelmingly preferred way to receive words on the Internet.(via Carpe Diem)