Taginformation overload

How to Deal with Information Overload: Just Relax and Don’t Worry About Missing Stuff

Cory Doctorow writes about how to deal with information overload for the Guardian.

I’m not sure how well this applies to me, since I have to monitor information sources for work. Getting a story early is important. But I have generally found this to be true:

There is a world of difference between reading every word uttered in a community and reading just a few choice ones. But soon the anxiety gave way to contentment and even delight: it turned out that “overload” has a wonderful corollary: redundancy.

Anything really worth seeing wouldn’t just appear once and vanish. The really interesting stuff would find its way into other discussions, and early conferencing systems made it easy enough to back my way through the forums I was ignoring or skimming to find the important thing I’d missed. […]

Again and again, this pattern re-emerges: once I could read all the tweets emitted by everyone I followed on Twitter; now I just skim the last 20 or 30 a few times a day and rely on retweets to bubble the good stuff to the top (I do my bit by retweeting things when I think they deserve it).

Once I could read every item in my list of RSS feeds; now I periodically mark them all as read without looking at any of them, just to clear the decks: if there’s something good in the missed material, someone will repost it and I’ll see it then.

Cory Doctorow: Information overload? Time to relax then

It’s sound advice. Heck, even in professional blogging an old story can still get good page views – because there are going to be people who missed it the first time around.

Reading Strategies for Coping with Information Overload, ca.1550-1700

Old Bookshelf by Marieke Kuijjer
Paper with an interesting abstract:

This article surveys some of the ways in which early modern scholars responded to what they perceived as an overabundance of books. In addition to owning more books and applying selective judgment as well as renewed diligence to their reading and note-taking, scholars devised shortcuts, sometimes based on medieval antecedents. These shortcuts included the use of the alphabetical index, whether printed or handmade, to read a book in parts, and the use of reference books, amanuenses, abbreviations, or the cutting and pasting from printed or manuscript sources to save time and effort in note-taking.

Reading Strategies for Coping with Information Overload, ca.1550-1700

(via Alexis Madrigal)

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