The Future of Feeds: Coping With Exponential Information

March 25 2008 / by Alvis Brigis / In association with Future
Category: The Web   Year: General   Rating: 10

As personal broadcasting feeds like Twitter and FriendFeed hit the mainstream, increasingly adding to the information already flowing outward through social networks like MySpace, Facebook, Orkut and LikedIn, as well as regular old-school email, it’s steadily becoming more difficult to make sense of all of the data competing for our attention.

It’s gotten to such a point that Josh Catone over at Read/Write Web yesterday wrote that, “Keeping track of all that activity is starting to feel like watching code in The Matrix.”

In the Matrix, protagonist Neo’s brain was able to discern the meaningful patterns in the code. Catone points out that we now have to take the first baby steps toward such an end:

“The Facebook News Feed only appeared about a year an a half ago, Twitter only gained real attention about a year ago, and FriendFeed and similar services are even newer. However, dealing with information overload is clearly a problem that these services will need to figure out how to address—whichever does it best will likely be a big winner.”

As far as tangible near-term solutions, Catone cites basic algorithmic sorting and a “thumbs-up, thumbs-down” user feedback system, attributed to blogger/consultant Jevon MacDonald, that can establish filters. While these are great first steps, there are a few more techniques and structures that should be added to the list, not to mention a bunch of companies already hard at work prepping them.

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