Even without social media, we face a flood of information.
Just in terms of blogs, I have about 50 set up on my RSS feeder so I can quickly browse all the authors I want to read.
Social media multiplies the flood.
One reason I’ve been slow to jump into the Twitter world is because merely following a handful of active Tweeters produces a few hundred tweets a day when you include all the people who reply to their posts. I don’t have time to sort through that much background discussion.
Schumpeter’s column, Too much buzz in The Economist discusses the difficulty companies are going to have in sorting through the volume of stuff in social media. One of the challenges in responding to complaining tweeters is missing the mass of people who are unhappy but not voicing their discontent in social media.
His closing comment is great:
As communication grows ever easier, the important thing is detecting whispers of useful information in a howling hurricane of noise.
How’s that for a great description? – finding “whispers of useful info in a howling hurricane of noise.”
[T]he new world will be expensive …. Everyone will need better filters—editors, analysts, middle managers and so on—to help them extract meaning from the blizzard of buzz.
I don’t know how we get those better filters, but we need to figure it out.