I love the Web and the fascinating number of useful and useless tools but it can also a huge time-suck and productivity killer.
Like many digital animals, the Web constantly seduces you. Just when you’ve got e-mail and IM within your communications arsenal, you’re using Twitter, Facebook and Friendfeed. Then, you’ve got Digg, del.icio.us, GMail, Google Reader, Mixx, et al to track and bookmark it all.
At some point, it’s overwhelming. It’s impossible to be everywhere and anywhere, and embrace all the tools being used by the digerati. At some point, you just have to pick you digital weapons, and stick with them.
As someone immersed within the digital world, I thought I was alone in my “digital overload” thesis until seeing TechCrunch’s Erik Schonfeld on Friendfeed introducing an instant-messaging tool.
FriendFeed ultimately is a communication platform, so adding IM was inevitable. But please kill me now. Just the thought of getting a ping every 30 seconds when anyone I follow on FriendFeed decides to Twitter, blog, add a photo to Flickr, share something on Google Reader, or any of the dozens of other actions across the Web FriendFeed monitors is overwhelming. I need less noise in my life, not more noise.
Schonfeld is as wired as anyone. The guy pumps out multiple blog post a day to feed the TechCrunch machine, and I imagine that his in-box is overflowing. So for him to declare the need for less noise is perhaps an indication that something’s up.
My read is consumers of digital services and content are being swamped, and madly scrambling to keep up. As a result, I think there’s going to be a growing demand for tools that filter and synthesize things to reduce the amount of noise.
Now, this could be a new application – and I’m sure there are smart people working on the noise problem as we speak. It may also be an issue of self management whereby digital animals learn to make their lives easier, more efficient and less noisy.