The Filter Problem

Recently, Matt Asay blogged about Clay Shirky’s keynote on Web 2.0 Expo.

I must agree that many problematic aspects of my web experience hinge on the concept of filtering.  Now I realize that ultimately everyone on the web can read my content.  However, I would prefer different people to get different content at different times.  It is not that I have something to hide.  But I don’t want every single one of my contacts to read up on my all blog entries, my personal Facebook updates, my professional LinkedIn account and follow my project progress at the same time.  Why should professional contacts care or know about my relationship status?  Or should my high school buddies to follow up on my professional interests?  I certainly don’t want everyone at work to see know about my side projects or my silly photos from my last vacation.  It is all a question about audience is privy to which information and view from which perspective.

So rather than provide a rich networked experience to all of my audiences, I try to separate my different online parts of my life.  In theory I could flood everyone with so much data to make it impossible to get a complete picture of my life.  But that would inconveinence everyone…  No, what we need to do is to create intelligent filters that provide different lens for different people to see my life through well-engineered perspectives.

Information Overload Via RSS

Eureka! I found out where a good chunk of my time disappeared to. RSS feeds and my favorite feed aggregation tool: Akregator. RSS feeds are an invaluable tool and using them feels like holding a hand on the pulse of the Web. However, I realized how much time I wasted because I subscribed to a few news and planet feeds.

Every morning would start with firing up Kontact, and reading my e-mails. Then I would do the same with the RSS feeds. Then I would scan each story, decide upon its usefulness, upload the useful ones to my web browser, read them, bookmark and catalogue them. Only by the time I finished a good chunk of the day past by. Oh my.

I realized that I had become an information junkie, and nothing was getting done. Initially I switched off the automatic retrieval. But that was just a half measure. Instead today, I took the drastic step of deleting the news and planet feeds. Now I can get work done, and do the things I should do. Like updating this blog. 😉