The Future As Seen By Me In 2010

Well looky here, things one has scanned in eh. (ignore the photo, that's some guy that made some accounting software, not sure what became of him ;) MIKE RIVERSDALE is fuming. The expensive headphones he bought in Sydney three weeks ago have just died. His first reaction is not to randomly spill expletives into his coffee, but to use his iPhone to vent his frustration to his Twitter con- tacts, under the moniker Miramar Mike. "I will also put, 'What should I do?' It's a conversation. I'm reaching out to the people following me." The council predicts hand-held digital devices such as smartphones will rule the world in 2040. They already rule the life of Mr Riversdale, whose company WaveAdept helps businesses adapt - their computing sys- tems to allow staff to work from anywhere - and with anyone. In order of fre- equency, he uses his iPhone to tweet (1136 followers; 8363 tweets since joining), e-mail, make phone calls and use online services, such as checki

5 survival tips to the information avalanche

Subtitle: So much Mike, so little time - how to get the best for you

Information overload is everywhere ... and you're not helping.
Ok, I'm not helping - as my wife said yesterday, "If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem".

Using my own manner of tracking information I give you this is a guide to get the most relevant parts of Riversdale whilst avoiding the avalanche of information. Apply it to all your subscribing/following/friending activities.

Tip #1: You don't have to read everything
You don't have to read everything that is posted on every website and certainly not everything I post online - you would be crazy to attempt it.

Having said that, don't hold back if that's what you want to know the intimate details of my online life, just be aware it can be an tidal wave of content. The simplest is using my FriendFeed (my "everything" feed, also called a 'life feed / life stream') - and you can always hide the stuff you don't want to see.

Be selective in what you want and let go of the feeling you have to subscribe to everything otherwise you'll miss out. If the content is truly worthwhile then it will appear in other places and rise to the top as it is linked by those you are already following/subscribed to.

Tip #2: People only create original content in a select few places
The list of sites on which I have a presence may indicate that I am actively creating content specific to each and every one of these sites. You may believe that by having a Facebook account I am SuperWalling stuff, creating Facebook specific posts and uploading photos to Facebook. Not true.

I create new content in the following 5 places, listed in order of "consideration given before letting you see it":
  1. Blogs
  2. Google Apps - documents, web sites etc - rarely shared or fed to anyone
  3. Flickr - where the Riversdale photos are stored
  4. Website and articles of note:
  5. Twitter - ramblings
If you want to get the creme-de-le-creme of my content subscribe to the blogs only.
If you are only interested in the photos go to my Flickr and add me as a contact (or subscribe).
If you ... well, you get the gist.

In essence - pick the source that is closest to your heart and forget the rest (see tip #1).

Tip #3: I use social networking sites to connect with people and share my content
I use the social networking sites to connect to people, and that is all. However I don't just connect people to me, I do share the information created in the 5 places listed in tip #2. Normally this is done by adding an "application" (or widget, or gadget or or tool - you chose the jargon that works for you). The application I go looking for is an RSS Reader and into that I plug either the two blogs OR FriendFeed ("everything").

What does this mean?
It means that if you go to any 'social network' site you will see the following on my profile:
  1. A wee bit about me that the site wants me to share with you (name, email address and photo seems to be standard)
  2. The people I am connected to on that site
  3. A list of feeds from the blog(s) or FriendFeed
Rarely is there anything else.

And so, if you're already subscribed to the content (tip #2) then the only benefit you can gain by following/adding/connecting to me is to see who else I am connected to and leverage off that for your own devious and nefarious agenda ... or to ask people out for a drink. The content component is likely to be almost entirely "second hand".

Of course this is not how others use these sites.
Some of my family members only use Bebo where they both connect up their people AND show off their content (photos mainly). This would be true for those that use one site which in NZ is likely to be either Bebo or Facebook with a hint of TradeMe.

Tip #4: Look for people in the places you already frequent
I am in a lot of places but I don't expect you to follow me to these places. I expect that you're in one, maybe two, and that I will stumble over you where you hang out. If I want to connect to you then I have to do the work to come to your place.

All the social networking sites pop me a notification (usually an email) to say that someone has asked to be my "friend", if "following me" or wants to be a "colleague" ... I will be told (hi Rachel).

If you don't care to know who I am connected to ... walk on by.
If you only care about the content and are already subscribed (tip #2) ... let it slide.
If you know me in real life and that's satisfying enough ... don't stress about it.

Tip #5: Stop following, unsubscribe or cull the feeds if you need to
Disclosure: the essence of this came from a reply to a friends email in which she made sure I wasn't peeved that she had un-followed me and de-friended me because:
I am finding that keeping up with the minutiae of your life is just a bit much - and it gets a bit in the way of keeping up with the less frequently posted updates of my other friends' lives.

Of course that is perfectly fine and exactly what I do.
In fact, I would expect it - if the noise is too much then chop it out.

Now, if you are on as many sites as I am and are following me or a "friend" of mine and have subscribed the amount of duplicated and recursive content will be quite phenomenal. If you're on that many sites I am going to assume you're a heavy user of the web and can work out the best plan forward ... in essence tips #1 and #2.

I hope this guide gives you an insight into how I use the web, how I go about limiting the number of feeds I read and how you can start to be discerning about the information you let into your life. The take away phrase is:
Before subscribing/following/adding as "friend" ask is the best source for your need

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