Chronic Partial Attention? Juggling, multi-tasking and mental overload? Is the internet and it's potential for incidental learning where you can go on all sorts of rabbit trails impacting our ability to think deep, long and critically? Or is it a wonderful mental escape and brain exercise (or distraction?) from the monotony of motherhood, livelihood and silence? Is there too much information and is information overload a real problem?
Because of the amount of information out there, one must be savvy about knowledge and how to find it, judge it, work with it and use it. There are 36.1 million blog sites according to Technorati. David Sifry, founder of Technorati, writes that the blogosphere is 60% bigger than it was three years ago in his latest State of the Blogosphere.
There is also an inherent limit on the amount of information that a user can keep track of at any given time. The cutting edge online information readers (early adopters of RSS feeds) have somewhere between 30-100 feeds that they monitor. These are the influential users of blogs and a new system for measuring this is written about here by Ashkay Java. MotherPie wrote about how to use feeds here and the post includes how to specifically get MotherPie by newsfeeds. You can apply the information to any feeds and it will walk you through it. Getting news by feeds is a simple way to manage the overload. Still to come: MotherPie little buttons for RSS feeds to make it all easier. Sorry, not that savvy yet. We'll get there.
There is so much out there beyond just getting information. How to use it is changing, too. Many of the web 2.0 (also called enterprise 2.0) applications take advantage of collaborative knowledge and many are free. MySpace and Wikipedia are two examples of free access applications. Collaborative knowledge sites are available and it has been estimated that half of the blogs as well as many of the wiki-type software are private.
Andrew McAfee, associate professor - Harvard Business School talks about various aspects of the enterprise 2.0 possibilities and it makes one wonder about whether users or producers will eventually determine where all this is headed.
Nicholas Carr writes about having too much information in A beautiful mindlessness. His blog is one year old and has become one of the top ranked blogs (600-something out of those million blogs tracked by Technorati) and he always has brainy things to say. Carr references a great article by Andrew Orlowski who writes about the soupy morass of information in the Guardian Unlimited. Bill d.h. adds more thoughts (didn't know Carr had a book out, thanks).
More MotherPie on Carr, Change and Media here.
7/13 update: There are now 48.2 million blogs. This is the biggest new media revolution since Guteberg invented the printing press!