Information Underload – I’m not burnt out. Yet.

Om Malik talked about information overload and linked to a very good piece by Fred the VC about the looming attention crisis. Too many feeds, too many things screaming for attention and not enough quality time given to anything.

I find myself checking my 124 news feeds up to 4 times an hour at times. I generally have 30+ IM conversations during the day, various email conversations and maybe a half dozen sms conversations. But yet clicking bloglines 4 times an hour shows how bored I get. All my tasks for the day were done today and I was staring at a bloglines window with nothing new in it and thinking that with billions of webpages out there I seem to have created my own invisble walled garden. Am I missing out on things because of the aggregator? How should I be going out and discovering things? How did I do things before all of this?

I’m finding the tabbed lifestyle to be quite fun. I think tabs might be good for my productivity. Anything of current interest lives in a tab. For someone who has 100s of different thoughts and ideas per hour, tabs are really handy.

These days when I read something I look at the first few lines, think “that’s interesting” and click on “Open in New Tab” to go back to it later. I generally go through the first wave of new feeds for the day that way. Then I go back through the tabs and read them and consider them. If they are worth re-reading or blogging about (I use blogging as bookmarking a lot) I’ll leave the tab open until I blog or Delicious them. Sometimes more tabs are opened from links in those new tabs. In work I have to kill tabs now and then when my crappy computer complains about firefox using up too much memory. At home tabs have to be closed when I shut down the computer at night.

Yet today I was there getting all bored with no new bloglines content. What did I do before RSS feeds? I read slashdot and Wired and aintitcoolnews and BoingBoing. Except for AICN, all these are in my bloglines now. Even Dilbert is!

The new Windows Live replacement for MSN IM is meant to hold 600 or is it 800 contacts that you can IM or email or VoIP. I have 179 on my MSN list and about 60 between AIM and YahooIM. How many damned windows are going to fill my taskbar with that kind of thing? Still I’ve found in work IM can be as productive as it is disruptive. People prefer to IM and ask something they need a quick answer to instead of ringing. People find rejection easier obviously but also feel bolder requesting things. IM I’d say will become bigger in our lives and since in Ireland and many European countries we all have mobiles and we all text, it won’t be much of a jump.

So with everything being RSSised, we are going to see the likes of Windows Live Chat or whatever it is called getting into the mix too. So more contacts via email, IM and VoIP and with their associated RSS feed too and tabs galore. People are already overloaded, surely many are going to get burnt out with all of this? Should there be a safety level setting for people? I still feel that I currently suffer from information underload but the day is coming when that becomes overload and when it hits I’ll want to flick a switch that says “Chill”.

Comments are closed.