The web’s problem is no longer information overload, it’s attention overload. A distraction there, another here, another over there. The problem with too much information to handle is easily resolved once you clarify what is relevant to you and start to filter it out. In contrast, this new “web 2.0” shift is a different beast.
I have to admit that I love all this. I have accounts in Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Digg, Vimeo, Youtube, Friendfeed, Delicious and very much addicted to feed reading. Some of them are creating and adding great content. Others show some future promise. But it’s like going into a library without a cataloguing system. The disorder or the noise can get quite overwhelming.
Since it’s not so easy or apparent how to filter out what’s relevant in some of these sites and services, they turn more into attention suckers. Their “social” nature turns them into a competition system. That is, everyone is competing for everyones attention. “Getting eyeballs” is a term I’ve read a lot lately. Most of the time, the “winning” content is made for the short attention span audience.
It’s not all bad, an like Robert Scoble says, “I love the noise”, but there’s no ability to focus with the attention overload nature of “web 2.0”. There’s some talk and promise that semantic search will resolve some of these issues, but until then we need to slow down a little.