Sipping from the information firehose


Modern media is firing information at us faster than we can process it. There has to be a better way to sort through the reams of information zipping past us every day.

One solution could be to filter the tweets, wall posts, emails, blog posts, news, and all the other media you view by telling you who else in your circles have looked at the same information. Maybe you could have a browser extension that, given a site you’re viewing, tells you which links your friends have read in the last 7 days. It makes information more relevant, at least.

But it’s a shallow solution, mirroring what social networks already do but in an open manner. Not only that, but this only adds to the “filter bubble” problem, where you only see what you already agree with.

Maybe there can be an anonymous sharing system, where you get recommendations from friends and strangers alike, and the system takes a certain risk in showing you new, unproven material in addition to the things you like. Maybe you can even adjust this parameter.

The only thing I’d be wary of is the potential de-anonymizing of user data. The last thing you want is for your browser and search history to be open to the world. And the identity of your anonymized searches and history can be inferred from context and association, and the more data you collect the easier it is. Maybe you limit the data collected to the browsing behavior on a few select sites?

What do you think? How would you narrow down the wide beam of information pointed at us, vying for our attention?