A few years ago, not a lot of people used RSS, and those that did, didn’t really subscribe to that many feeds. We limited ourselves to a small set of sites and sources to keep up with because of the limited nature of the tools we used (browser bookmarks, and our memory for remembering URLs). We’re now at a time when the tools exist to help us not have to remember.
This could be you, right?
My RSS reader keeps track of hundreds of feeds for me, and I’ve grown used to the fact that I’ll keep around 500 unread items there at all times (or I’d likely make no use of all that information because I’d just be skipping through it). My inbox is a constant source of distraction, with emails coming in at a crazy rate. Twitteriffic (when I dare to run it) notifies me every 3 minutes of the thoughts of around 200 people (I can’t follow more because I’d get absolutely nothing done, and I wouldn’t really be paying attention anyway).
Social networks keep letting me know that people want to get in touch: it’s either friend requests on Facebook, event updates, or new connections on LinkedIn. Last.fm keeps smacking me in the face whenever people I know recommend new music. Growl on my mac pops a notification several times a minute when any of these events takes place. The Adium duck keeps jumping on my dock because people come online, or go offline, or message me, or, I don’t know, some other apparently important thing happens in the never actually paused instant messaging world.
How do we make sense of it?
We take the next step – we create tools to clean up the mess that our current set of tools is building up. We create filters, that deliver only the information we care about, when we care about it, to our screens or phones or whatever we’re connected to the web through (our chumbys and ambient devices, our nabaztags and iphones, our buglabs or our fridges).
Our work as entrepreneurs, designers, engineers, craftsmen is to keep evolving a set of tools to relieve our brains from this huge mess. Lifestreaming, friend-feeding, micro-blogging, content-chunking, micro-formating is here to stay, but our brains can’t handle it alone.
Now do excuse me while I go clean-up my inbox, update my twitter and read up on some feeds. I think I’m still up for some information overload tonight.Click here to read the full post!