Americans revel in the fact that in our land of opportunity we have choices. I have 26 different brands of bottled water in my grocery store, 450 channels of television and music on my cable, and 930 news sites on my browser’s RSS feed. I can download any of 5 million songs today into my Itunes. In 21st century America, we’ve all got a gazillion choices of what to wear, where to eat, what to do, what to read. But enough is enough. I’m experiencing informational overload and I’m starting to get sweaty palms.
Sometimes too much information or too many choices are a bad thing. I appreciate all the new community powered sites that allow blogrolling, and the fact that Technorati is uncovering the link farmers as the shysters they most certainly are. But sometimes too many choices make for bad choices and can be detrimental to your mental health. In fact, googling “too much information” uncovered an actual scientific experiment by some phychologists trying to determine if there is such a phenomena. Not surprisingly, there is. “If the number of variables to be considered exceeds human processing capacity then the worker will drop his or her mental bundle and become unable to proceed,” Professor Halford said. Forgive me if I’ve got the processing power of a 12 year old, but the variety and quantity of Gen 3.0 search engines are making my head spin.
I checked out Swickis for Avian Flu, avant guard filmmaking and Michael Moore. WhiteSpider has a wonderful aggregation of blocks and websites on Avian flu. Michael Moore or Cut Lab, not so much. (I chose Michael Moore simply because he’s in the news right now with his film Sicko, and I’m going to see that tonight). Clusty had more than 59 million results for Michael Moore, 8 million for Avian Flu, but nothing relevant for Cut Lab. IPhone, however, got 696 million results. Everyzing by Technorati is my favorite new media search tool. Michael Moore had 6542 hits in audio and video in 1.422 seconds. Cut Lab seemingly had 9859 hits, but on closer inspection it was just the meta tags that had cut or lab. No real CutLab material was there.
So while there seems to be a lot of wonderful work going on in the world of search optimization, what really is of value to me today? How would I attempt to get through the millions of relevant results for Avian Flu? I think right now I prefer Google. It’s my old reliable standy, that, for my personal needs, does its job very well. But I’m excited about the new ways data is being mined and processed, and I hope that someday soon, my computer can tell me which bottle of water is the best for price and nutritional value, what channel I should turn on for relaxation, or which new story is most relevant and of interest to me.
On a More Positive Note
Guy Kawasaki, author of the blog “How to Change the World,” helps blogging neophytes refine their skills in this emerging communications channel. For example, in an interview with David Sifry, CEO of Technorati, the importance of linki-ness and RSS feeds are explained. Making it easy to let both Technorati and your blog-fans know when you’ve posted new insights, opinions, and knowledge is a common courtesy that will also help you get noticed and highlighted on search engines. Sifry goes on to explain good blogging etiquett. He states that, “The hyperlnk is becoming a new form of social gesture used between people” in their blogs to signify respect. It also, obviously, allows readers to examine the whole conversation that was going on before they arrived to the site. I really appreciate the ability to really get to know who these bloggers are, their expertise, and the relationships that exist out there in cyberspace.
Like Citizen Marketers and Naked Conversations, Sifry suggests the best blog practices: post often, write about your passion and area of expertise, link prolifically. He then reveals advanced blogger applications, which I am still struggling with myself: tagging and rss feeds. So while I still awake, I’ll go back to the wordpress tutorials. In my dreams I’ll be conjuring up an Iphone that will do my laundry and drive me to work, and add tags to my blog.