Thursday, October 29, 2009

The problem with the wave of information

I was reading my Facebook during lunch, and one of my Facebook friends (I won't mention the friend's name, but the friend knows a lot about Facebook) happened to make a comment about Twitter lists. The friend started off by saying, "Someone brought up an interesting question today..." but the friend didn't name who the "someone" was.

This is understandable. I myself probably read from hundreds of sources every day, and this friend may read from thousands of sources. And with all of that information pouring in, sometimes it's hard to remember who said what.

Luckily, at the time that I read my friend's comment, I had just finished reading this blog post by Mark Trapp, and even with my declining memory skills, I was still able within a five-minute interval to remember who wrote the post in question.

Meanwhile, my friend was searching FriendFeed, and ran across a FriendFeed entry, also by Mark Trapp, that touched on the same topic.

Now in this case the same tools that helped to create this information glut also helped us to pinpoint the source of the information. Crowdsourcing and a simple search can sometimes do wonders.

But not always.

Unlike Robert Scoble, and like Mark "Rizzn" Hopkins, I continue to read items in Google Reader; it's probably still my primary source for information. Often I'll see an item, and I'll decide to write a blog post about it, because I'm sure I blogged about the item before.

So then I search my Empoprises blogs and some of my older blogs, and discover that I didn't blog about the item before.

Well, maybe I shared it in FriendFeed. Strike that.

Now if I read it on someone else's FriendFeed, or maybe just saw it in Google Reader and didn't do anything with it, it is for all intents and purposes impossible to find the original item.

The reason that I mention this is that perhaps a day from now, or a month from now, you may ask yourself, "Who was the blogger who wrote about trying to find things in the wave of information that we all receive"?

And you may not be able to find it, unless you take action now. Share it to your Google Reader friends. Digg it. StumbleUpon it. Tweet it. Share it on FriendFeed and Facebook and MySpace and Friendster. Email it to your aunt that sends you all of those funny cartoons every week. You see, if you incorporate this material into your own stuff, then it will be easier for you to find it later. (And maybe I'll get a little benefit out of this myself...)

(Picture source, license)
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