Are better applications the solution to the information firehose?

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Thu, Apr 17 - 1:07 pm EDT | 6 years ago by
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The information firehose is something that we all suffer from nowadays. I won’t even use the incremented number of Web x.0, that’s just foolish marketing, but we are beginning to try to tame the information beast by pulling more together. Is that the right course and will it save us?

If services won’t save us, will better applications?

Erick Schonfeld bemoans the state of information overload in his latest post on Techcrunch:

I need less data, not more data. I need to know what is important, and I don’t have time to sift through thousands of Tweets and Friendfeed messages and blog posts and emails and IMs a day to find the five things that I really need to know. People like Mike and Robert can do that, but they are weird, and even they have their limits.

So where is the startup that is going to be my information filter? I am aware of a few companies working on this problem, but I have yet to see one that has solved it in a compelling way. Can someone please do this for me? Please? I need help. We all do. Source: Web 3.0 Will Be About Reducing the Noise—And Twhirl Isn’t Helping

First off I guess Erick hasn’t been paying attention to aideRSS.  That one service saves me hours of feed reading time.  So that is a good start.  Yes, I still read through my feeds to make sure I don’t miss a gem, but I can skim more and read less because I’ve seen a lot of the posts and topics already.

Next the screenshot Erick posted is really a PBKAC issue.  It’s a setting.  Yes, you can fill up your screen with tweets and FriendFeed updates, but that’s just a setting (yeah, makes a stunning illustration, but who really uses Twhirl like that?)

Folks face it, we’re in the midst of a paradigm shift.  There is no way a person can read, absorb, understand, much less grok all the stuff/information being generated “out there”.  This is new, this is something that we haven’t faced on this scale before.  Now we’re playing catch up.

Personally I think Twhirl, APML, better RSS readers (you know my fav of course), and even FriendFeed/SocialThing! and Toluu (sorry I’m out of invites, Caleb, help a guy out?) are doing great things for helping us gather, sort, and plow through it all.

Perhaps I’m just in a cranky mood today, okay I know I am, but I think Erick is blowing this out of proportion.  We’re at the beginning of this change.  We’re all helping to create and solve the problem.  The more we use the new tools and services and give constructive feedback to the creators, the faster the solutions will come.

So, let’s get on it.

Update: I this Alexander van Elsas hits the nail on the head with his post: “The cure for it? Not web 3.0, I certainly hope not. The receipe is quite simple (isn’t it always), but the execution much harder. Let go. Let me repeat that. Just let it go.

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  • Caleb Elston

    I think that if you can focus on the topics that are of the most interest to you, the people whose opinions you care about most, that can be a manageable amount of information. That can be your core.

    Then you can rely on services like Twitter and FriendFeed to feed you what is most popular for the day or which particular pieces of information might you have missed.

    Toluu makes it easy to discover what your friends and other people with similar interests are actually reading day-in and day-out. By publishing the feeds you read to your friends you open up the possibility to find interesting feeds for yourself and help others find feeds that they never even knew existed.

    PS Tris I just added 25 more invites to your account!


  • Tris Hussey

    Caleb you rock. You’re right on streamlining feeds and such. That works for the average user, but edge cases like Scoble, Marshall and I, not so much. That’s okay, we’re nuts anyway.

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