Clay Shirkey on Information Overload as a Filter ProblemFebruary 19, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Posted in Attention Management, email, Information Work | 10 Comments
Jacob Ukelson of Actionbase recently had some good comments on my posting “Information Overload as Evolutionary Maladaptation“:
Clay Shirky’s take on it is that the information overload problem (at least as it pertains to email) is an email filtering problem, not an information overload problem. His video can be seen here:
I hadn’t seen that video before, so I watched it and think it’s very good. In particular, the parts that stuck with me from Clay’s presentation were:
- We’ve lost our filter for quality. It used to be book publishers. Not anymore. So how will we now design the filters (rather than thinking about how to control the flow of content from the source)?
- Solutions are temporary and need to be continually adapted
- He applied a great quote to information overload. It’s from Yitzak Rabin: “If you have the same problem for a long time, maybe it’s not a problem – it’s a fact.”
- When you think about information overload, think instead about what changed – where the filter broke
I think he’s half right with his thesis. Defining information overload as a filter issue captures half the problem according to my Enterprise Attention Management model. It captures the “pushing information back” (attention shielding) part, but not the “pulling information forward” part. Unless he means the filter is applied in both directions, which didn’t come out in this speech.