The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision - Helen Keller
I’m usually forthright when I write a post. Today I’m going to be extremely forthright.
In this technological century there is an over-abundance of information, the so-called infowhelm that I read about every other day. Recent examples of laments about it can be found here, and here, and I have every sympathy with the lamenters John and Michele.
I first learnt the term at a conference in Wellington in, em . . . it’s been so long now I’ve forgotten when. Sometimes it’s written as info-whelm, sometimes as infoWhelm. They all mean the same thing: too much data – for anybody to cope with. You start off sifting and sieving and all you’ve got at the end of it is a headache.
In January 2006, Ian Jukes on Change said,
“I am optimistic that collaborative practices like blogs and wikis can help us filter InfoWhelm into a manageable understanding of the world we chose to live in.”
I was hopeful when I first read that. Just on 30 months later, I’m sad to announce that Ian’s optimism is eclipsed by a new phenomenon that’s set to cause more problems than Infowhelm.
Gina Minks' post "What Competencies do Knowledge Workers Need?” lists just 5 tools that she feels need mentioning:
Information Creation tools such as Youtube, SlideShare, Flickr
She aptly suggests as one of her goals “a lunch and learn on at least one of these topics - to help get my co-workers up to speed. Maybe I’ll call it: What is a wiki and why the heck do I care?” I couldn’t help but sense a wee bit of tension in Gina’s post, and I’m not surprised.
Add to those listed the podcast, tumblelog, Twitter with its tweets, pipes etc, del.icio.us, Ning, video-share, slide-share. The lists I post don’t do justice to the plethora of Web 2.0 technologies that abound.
But as I write this there will be another one or two born on the Net, so what does it matter? They all contribute to what I call technowhelm.
It has one benefit, however. Soon we will be so bound up in deciding which Web 2.0 technology to use, learning how to use it and wondering if it’s the right one to choose – by the time we’ve sorted all that out, there won’t be any time left to experience infowhelm.