Information overload – the river bank perspective

Hi all,

I demonstrated to a  group of colleagues how I manage all the information I  process.  So I set up my computer on the data projector and simulated what I do most nights – while watching Foxtel :-).  I showed how I went through my gmail, sync my g-calendar, process my google reader blogs, pushing some links and thoughts through to Twitter, adding a few links to delicious, starring blog posts to read in more detail later,   checking tweets, writing my running and life blog post and  checking online journals that are not in google reader.

Clearly we cannot keep up with all the information flow nor should we.  I was watching Stephen Colins  (@trib)  being interviewed on New Zealand TV a few years ago and he made a comment about Twitter which I have found useful.   In the interview Stephen suggested Twitter is like sitting on an edge of a river.  Each time you  sit down  on the river bank you watch different things pass you by in the water.  I liked the  image – this stopped me trying to run down stream to try and find what I missed when I was not on the riverbank.

More recently I have been thinking about what I don’t need to know about or use and how I am making that decision. I am sure what I am not using has value but at the moment it does not appeal.  I am trying to understand why. I think it is to do with my preferred learning style.

1.  I am not interested in Virtual Reality.  Many years ago I signed up to Second Life and I was a Nigel there wondering what to do.  Also the attention to detail that I needed did not interest me.

2.  I tend to keep away from  videos or YouTube – though I do enjoy them now and then.  I think this is because it takes a while for  clip to get to the point.

3.  Podcasts I did try a bit many years ago and don”t use them now.  I think that is because YouTube became more mainstream, I don’t have long periods of time to listen and it is dangerous to do while running.

4.  I am not interested in  Learning Management Systems such as Moodle.  Though I did find Moodle very useful useful  it was  just too hard for me to understand and implement at a larger scale. I tended to use it as a web site which is probably not the best way to use it.

5.  I am not interested in online knowledge management systems that you have to pay for when there is so much you can access for free.  This is even the case if they actually provide resources for you.  I find that the resources and publications provided  just don’t fit the niche I might need at the time.

6.  I don’t use online journals and data bases- not because I don’t want to but because I am no longer a student and don’t have access.  It frustrates me when I find a great article and just  don’t have easy access to it.

Well they are the main things that I actually don’t use too much of and this means I have more time for other sources of information.

Now I  just let these things go by even if I am sitting on the river bank.

cheers  Martin


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