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Find and Filter: the path to gourmet content consumption
[caption id=”attachment_285" align=”alignleft” width=”260" caption=”Find and Filter = Gourmet Content Buffet “]
The acceleration of content creation on the web, both social streams and traditional outlets, has created a situation where I almost always feel behind in terms of my ability to consume the information and overwhelmed by the effort required to pull the relevant stuff from the irrelevant. I have trouble with the find and filter process and either get bloated by consuming too much or end up content starved. The right balance lies in becoming a content gourmet — and this balance has so far eluded me.
The velocity of content creation has driven me to the point of a binary decision: read or ignore. I bvelieve content should be surfaced and prioritized by relevancy, but I found that I had retreated into my twitter stream and was really skimming for links (to forward to myself via e-mail and read throughout the day). I also would pull out specific terms and the @replies and DM’s via tweetdeck. Twitter had become my IM and RSS in addition to the baseline “twitter stream” of real-time conversation about “what are you doing?”
I have struggled with what I call “Find and Filter” since about 2003. Back then I created the chart below that laid out my ideal solution to the problem — let me choose my content curators based on my knowledge of them and then give them a way to highlight the content that they think is most valuable around a given topic and have the system push it to me. I also wanted to be able to discover other people who pulled this same content out of the “feedtank” and view their profiles/subscribe to them on the given topic. The idea was to find and filter my sources and let them, in turn, find and filter my content. I called it editoRSS.com and never did more with it than what you see here:
Over time, lots of solutions to this problem have emerged including FriendFeed, Google Wave and Glue as well as the Facebook NewsFeed and the Twitter stream. I would also include the latest entry from Google in the form of social search (see video here), but I am still feeling overwhelmed by the effort required to find and filter the content that I really want without consuming too much or missing out by consuming too little.
In an effort to work on my process, I have changed my Twitter follows to people I know and interesting people who’s tweets go beyond what I can get via RSS feeds from their blog. (Did you know that the url for an un-follow on twitter is twitter.com/friendship/destroy ??) I am going to re-invest in my NetNewsReader for articles and longer form news and try to re-engage in the twitter stream as conversation rather than news fire hose.
If you are willing to share how you solve this problem or are working on a solution to it, I would love to hear about it in the comments or an @reply on Twitter.