‘Information overload’ has made its way into Wikipedia, this makes sense as Wikipedia’s success is largely due to its ability to focus on specific information quickly. Of course, there continues to be a debate about the quality of Wikipedia, and whether academia can accept Wikipedic references in student papers.In the meantime Wikipedia is striving to upgrade its credibility by gathering together solid sources and citations for its communally created entries.
That’s enough Wikipediapology! I will now point you to the wiki’s entry on information overload , here you will find the analogy of ‘low signal-to-noise ratio’, an apt descriptor! The term addresses how it is becoming increasingly difficult to discern the useful message from the mass of information swirling all around us. If your work regularly sends you out into the Internet you can feel as though you are trudging up sand dunes all day. (Two steps forward and one step backwards.) Or perhaps you feel as though you are trying to construct a sandcastle? Trouble is building in dry sand is tricky! It is hard to create a coherent shape out of all these random, tumbling pieces of digitized text.
Blogs are another information overload solution, and like Wikipedia, blogs have popular appeal whilst being simultaneously disapproved of by serious folks! (Who are these ‘serious’ folks anyway? Certain academics, some paper based journalists; plus assorted others who see modern technology causing huge changes that they consider to be generally destructive.)
Blogging helps bloggers to organize the information they are interested in. A blog can act as an information filter, a file for references and web links. Blogs can work as a focal point for personal ideas and reflections. At the same time blogs have become part of the problem by adding yet more ‘blah, blah’ matter to the information overload. Wikipedia credits Jakob Nielsen for coming up with the expression ‘information pollution’, a term that conjures up visions of felled blogs floating down clogged virtual rivers.
Oh well… not to worry! Just think, where will all our blogs go if there is a massive, lasting power failure? Without electricity everything will just vanish away. Dinosaurs probably thought they had a pretty solid grip on existence but look what a falling meteorite did to them! What’s another blog going to matter? Just as dinosaurs altered the landscape with their big feet, bloggers en masse are influencing the ‘infosphere’ with our collective blog jamming!
I see my blog as a glorified note pad that helps me organize information and ideas. Weeks later I can retrieve my own thoughts. (Useful!) My thoughts get lost in the ‘low signal to noise ratio’ mentioned earlier. I keep a number of notebooks for catching ideas and information, I write in a horrible spidery scrawl and sometimes I can’t read my own writing. I lose my notebooks, I doodle in them, tear off corners, spill coffee on them, and my children get hold of them to draw monsters on their wrinkled pages. But, thanks to WordPress, I can find things resting here on my blog. I will just keep an eye out for falling meteors…
Nebulosus Severine’s installation ‘The Culture of Television’ can be seen at Arthole in Second Life™. Head over there quickly as the exhibit ends soon. Don’t forget to collect your free TV avatar while you are there!
cyberloom’s notebook was created by Flea Bussy and can be purchased at Grendel’s Children.