Today Seth Godin complains about the rising level of stupid content on the Net:
Now that everyone has their own channel, their own newspaper, their own
station, it’s pretty shocking how low the average has sunk. The
question is: will it be so noisy and offensive that the rest of us just
tune it out completely? Do you care enough to dig through the pond scum
comments to find the pearls? My guess is that few people do. It’s like
most cell phone calls… not a lot of people listening, just waiting
for their turn to talk.
This sounds eerily similar to Nova Spivack recently, talking about information overload as it relates to our future workflow:
The Web is constantly changing and the biggest challenge is not finding information, it is keeping up with it.
Both men (along with a large percentage of the Internet population) are worried about missing out on the information they should be paying attention to. While Nova takes the shotgun approach and subscribes to everything and then worries about missing the good content, Seth is worried about being able to find the good content in the first place. Nova thinks that the solution to this problem is to have software think for you and try to figure out what you should be paying attention to. Seth thinks that we to reduce anonymous information contribution because it’s lower-quality and adding to the overall noise.
I don’t think the answer is that complicated at all. Doesn’t the
answer lie in our network of trusted people which is available via
social technology? One of the things that just really doesn’t sit well
with me is the tendency we have these days of establishing
"connections" to anyone and everyone we meet. It’s almost as automatic
as a handshake these days. Your network shouldn’t really be "the
bigger the better", it should represent the network of people that you
trust, and it should be of high quality. Again, it’s not about finding
the magic diet pill to lose weight, it’s about eating less.
From a trusted network of people, you should be able to see
all the information you need to see, easily. I pay attention to a
relatively small number of people on a regular basis, but from that
network I feel that I have access to all of the important information I
should be paying attention to. It’s because I’ve built up trust in
those people, and I know that they’ll point out any important
information. The great thing about the network effect is that those
people that I trust also trust and pay attention to other people that I
don’t even know exist, so anything important in their network will bubble up into mine.
If your network consists of noise and garbage that’s what you’ll see
in your information stream. If you have a quality network of people
you trust you shouldn’t ever miss out on information important to you,
and it takes very little work.