We’ve always struggled with too much information and news to absorb, someone pointed out to me today. Those Newsweeks and TIMEs and Fortunes and (remember?) LIFE magazines used to stack up, not to mention daily newspapers. It’s always been hard to keep up. Funny, if you think about it. Because one of the biggest criticisms of social media is that “it takes too much time.” “I can’t be on Twitter all day long.” “Blogging, are you kidding??” “How do I know what to believe?” And so on.
But really, only two things are different now. First, the Web and Internet have turned the running river into a fire hose of information. Granted, much of what comes out of this fire hose is either crap or useless. Much of it is “opinion.” For old-timers who have yet to embrace the online world, that’s code for “Well, if an editor at The New York Times didn’t review this, then it’s not worth my time to read.” So I’ll grant that a lot more information is not necessarily a good thing.
Second, however, we now have a number of ways to edit and cull and curate what comes out of the fire hose. That’s significant. Whether you use an RSS reader to subscribe to key resources, or Google News Alerts to hunt them down, or more sophisticated monitoring services like Radian6 or ScoutLabs, or Guy Kawasaki’s AllTop.com you have the ability to intelligently select what you want to hear.
The argument that today people only listen to the points of view they want to hear is also specious. People have always chosen what they wanted to read, listen to and subscribe to.
Just sayin’. Other thoughts?