Fred had a great posting last week called The Looming Attention Crisis. He talks about how he’s at his limit of trying out new technology and consuming information/feeds. He’s right — except I’d argue there’s nothing looming about the crisis. Those of us who were early adopters of RSS (perhaps early adopters in general) are in full Overload mode at this point.
The negatives associated with this problem are pretty clear. One of my very first postings, Present AND Accounted For, talked about the perils of multitasking on interpersonal relationships; that’s probably the biggest negative to the availability of all this information. Attention, as Fred says, IS in fact a zero sum game.
The great problem associated with all of this Web 2.0 stuff is that the web is now much more easily a read/write platform, as opposed to the primary read platform it was in the early days. So now, everyone can have a printing press — but not everyone should. And those who do, shouldn’t necessarily feel compelled to use those presses all day, every day.
We need some new tools and services to help reduce the Overload factor quickly. Tips for better organizing information help (thanks, Whit), but they’re not enough. We need better keywords and searching of the information that’s out there. We need better tools to help understand which feeds to read and which to avoid — in other words, ways to figure out who shouldn’t have a printing press. We need better tools to de-dupe information, or better yet to consolidate duplicate information with a clean list of sources. We need better integration with mobile devices to scan the information during away-from-desk time. Most of all, we need all of these tools to be integrated before average users can really adopt.
Maybe all of these tools are out there, and I just to find need more time (somehow) to find and implement them. I’m sure some entrepreneurs far smarter than I am about Web 2.0 will come up with these things before long…and then of course we’ll hear about them 872 times until we implement their solutions.