Rebuttal to “Filter Failure” Argument

May 24, 2010 at 9:29 am | Posted in Attention Management | 1 Comment

I posted previously on Clay Shirkey’s assertion that there is no information overload, just filter failure. I pointed out that filtering is only half of the attention management picture (pulling information forward is the other part).

But Nathan Zeldes did a much more detailed rebuttal – and more insightful I’d say.  It’s called Yes it IS Information Overload, Clay Shirky, not only Filter Failure:

The Black Death was caused by flea-carrying rats; yet no one would say “It wasn’t a terrible plague, it was a pest-control failure”. It was a very real plague caused by failure to kill the rats; and Information Overload is a very real problem caused (in part) by Filter Failure.

It is not that there’s a lot of information; it is that there’s a lot more information that we are expected to read than we have time to read it in … And this is why Email Overload is a problem and RSS feed overload is much less so: there is an expectation (express or implied) that you must go through all the mail in your Inbox; there is no such expectation for an RSS reader.


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  1. […] Information overload: it’s not just filter failure Posted on 10 October 2010 by benplouviez| Leave a comment Amplify’d from […]

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