Sunday, September 21, 2008

Shirky on: It's Not Information Overload. It's Filter Failure

This past week i was at Web 2.0 NYC and on return home my brain as usual is overloaded with the people i met, the ideas we discussed and they presented, the business opportunities and ideas and the general feeling that there is still a lot of room and opportunities for innovation around information creation and consumption.

A lot of what i saw (especially on the exhibit hall floor) targeted to the Enterprise space was a lot of packaging around what is already out there (wiki, blogging, social networking)-wrapped in shiny colorful enterprise bubble wrap (the kind that goes pop), that is supposed to make your employees happy to be sharing their most intimate knowledge with their also ecstatically sharing colleagues- creating an ecosystem of content creation and consumption that will take enterprise users into this digital century that today's web 'consumers' live in.

You sense some snarky in me i am guessing. You might be right-i have been talking and asking for these tools for enterprise users for years and now i am complaining that there are too many choices- do i not believe in the open market? yeah i do of course- i just hate seeing too much of the same that might not address the real problems. I think that Clay Shirky in his keynote addressed the problem i see about the need to approach 'filtering' (aka information delivery) in his talk:

It's Not Information Overload. It's Filter Failure.
Take the 23minutes to watch this video and let me know what you think.

And while you are at it- watch this hilarious, but also inspiring keynote by Gary Vaynerchuk from Wine Library TV. Patience and Passion- please stop doing what you hate.(language as expected if you know Gary might not be appropriate for office so go with headphones!)


Allen Unrau said...

Clay is brilliant, as always :-)

He's right in that the 'information overload' problem is really a filter problem. But why are the filtering mechanisms failing? I say that it's because we deal with chunks of information that lack context and connection - providing such is usually 'an exercise left up to the reader'. However this doesn't scale too well, which leads to frustration and the perceived information overload problem.

Nathan Zeldes said...

For my part I take exception to part of Shirky's otherwise brilliant keynote: I think it's a lot more than filter failure. see my post at for details...