Twitter’s Ev thinks Twitter can help you overcome Information Overload.
That’s Sillicon Valley thinking. Information "overload" is a Sillicon Valley type of problem. Such problems are mostly a matter of choice, exist in a very small sub-culture — and have virtually no baring on the real lives of normal people. (more…)
Finding back items in Evernote is usually as simple as typing something, anything, into the search box and seeing the results appear as you type.
For slightly deeper data digging some of us might be tagging our notes and use the [tag:] query to get to very specific notes.
The problem begins when you need that note with that Word document attached to it. Or when you want to pull all your notes with .ppt attachments.
As a data processor I just had to switch to TweetDeck. The built-in Twitscoop view is a constant finger on the pulse of the community’s conversation; I “see” a lot of news and events approaching this way before they hit the news.
Another great feature is built-in persistent searches. You can add searches the Tweets of which will appear in their own column.
A “drawback” — one is never satisfied — is that TweetDeck enforces a 10 column maximum. You’ll quickly run out of columns to add, having to delete a previous search to start to monitor a new topic.
Searches in TweetDeck are powered by search.twitter.com (the previous Summize).
The default operator applied is AND: evernote chrome.
But Twitter search recognizes the OR operator: economy OR coffee.
This gives you the ability to combine or collapse a number of searches into one and the same column, giving you “virtual unlimited columns” in TweetDeck.
Good candidates are searches which during most 48 hour periods, the timeframe TweetDeck considers, produce limited results. For example, I combine the streams for knowledge management and mindmapping.
Topics can be more thoroughly covered this way as well. Hot is The Economy at the moment but simply searching economy gives you a restricted view. economy OR recession OR “wall street” OR “credit crunch” is much wider, covers more ground.
If you feel it’s all just too much information and you don’t experience the stream of information available to you as something great and laid back then you might be suffering from Intention Deficit.
Intention Drives Actions
Normally we intent to do something with something at a specific time and place. Thus we find ourselves in the supermarket with the intention to buy groceries.
Removing intention from the equation is frustrating.
Loss of intention makes your actions meaningless and impossible.
Ever stood up to go to the kitchen only to find yourself thinking; “Why am I here?” That’s loss of intention for you right there…
Intention Deficit Kills Information Joy
If you don’t have a clear intention for each piece of information you expose yourself to soon that information will become a source of distraction and frustration.
You open your feedreader, see “1000+ unread” and think; oh no. Clicking “mark all as read” you sigh, clench your muscles and think “I failed again but this time I’ll stay current and up to date — this time I’ll read it all, all the time”.
From Intent to Read to Intention for Reading
The clearer your intention, the better you feel. “I follow this feed to stay up to date on the news in my industry” sounds like a clear intention but soon you’ll find yourself stressed at somehow staying “up to date”.
Because the question is; why do want to stay up to date? Answering that question for yourself gives you a chance to bring things back to your real life; “I follow this feed to stay up to date in order to learn about code exploits as soon as possible so I can protect the company server”.
If you find yourself storing information or URL’s ask yourself: what do I intent to do with this?
The fact that it is remotely interesting isn’t enough. You have to know for yourself “I save this article because I’m planning to write about the body-space awareness of termites”.
- Horizons of Focus
- Covey’s idea of Roles (would love to include a link but alas, can’t find a good write-up on it! Know one?)
Do you think clear intention helps — or do you maybe think all this talk about information processing and knowledge work is way overdone?
Adopting a “first in, maybe never out” approach to RSS feeds assures you have tons and tons of content from sources you know you like.
It’s there, ready to go when you want to enjoy it.
This Saturday morning, for example, I passed in bed with some heavenly espresso (Italian stovetop method, yes) and tons of great, funny, interesting, emotional, informing articles. It’s like having a huge pile of recent magazines.
Be Your Own News Filter
As you browse through your collection of feeds and feed items you’ll come across a lot of tasty stuff. Just as with reading a magazine, it’s perfectly OK to skip forward to what caught your interest, to sample and article or to earmark another for later reading.
In Google Reader the Starred Items works perfectly for this. [S]tar that post, [S]tar that item you think sounds like a good read, [S]tar for later on.
This routine is like being your own news filter. Not only do you have your hand selected subscriptions waiting for you; you have your hand selected “most interesting” articles preselected.
Photo at the generous courtesy of AJ Schuster