Saturday, November 06, 2004

BloggerCon: Information Overload

Robert Scoble is doing the dealing with information overload.

Scoble is standing in front of the room wearing a grey, blogaddict t-shirt and holding a tablet PC.

Talks about the information he receives. Watches 900+ feeds, 1,500+posts a night. Also gets 100s of emails a day. In general, a whole lot of information coming in. Reads so much so that he can be on top of the world. Because of this, he found 10x10. Read about it.

Question for the room: How are you handling this information pressure?

Comment from the room: So much duplicate information -- a major corp has an IPO, everyone links to it, how do you skip it. Someway to organize the information so that you can weed out the things you don't want to see.

Scoble: But I want to read the raw you. Unfiltered. Finding the random stuff people are talking about.

Comment from the room: Clustering feeds -- all the people who are talking about the same thing. Serendipity: The thinks that you can just find.

Comment from the room: How do we find the very little things that are interesting? Not the things that everyone are linking to.

Comment from the room: It can be dangerous to let people running aggregators/filters to decide what you want to read. How do you really determine that things are duplicated? Understanding how many people were a part of that duplication? What were the comments? Who were the people who duplicated? (this the guy from pubsub)

Winer: Shut the conversation down because he said a vendor was going over the line. No vendor gets to talk at all.

[The room errupts into a meta conversation about whether or not the vendors can talk.

Comment from the room: Vendors should talk.

Winer: No, not your conference]

Comment from the room: Use blogs as editors. Pull information from people.

Scoble: Back to repeating problem. Frequency of linkage gives some indication of importance.

[missed comment]

Scoble: RSS, feeds, blogs. Fastest relationship building device he's ever seen.

Comment from the room: Talking about information overload. How can we get all the information that is interesting to us whether explicitly pointing to a feed, using a discovery device, or using other blogs as editors? And then making sure there is a presentation layer so that it can be organized, clustered: look at frequency, linkers (is that a word?).

Scoble: Write better headlines. That will help to deal with the pressure of information.

Comment from the room: Must measure need to create informative headline with the pressue to get attention.

Comment from the room: If able to rate trust level of source, story and so get recommendation back -- including sources not explicitly subscribed to.

Scoble: New kinds of attention metadata that can help us create new systems to find new things.

Steve Gillmor: Working on attention metadata. Next step is to help ourselves be able to improve the efficiency and priority of items coming into an information router, whether server or client system. Concept of roach motel: essentially we have an asset as users which is our attention, what we do, what we're interested in, who are affinities of trust are with, in terms of passing along clues. Wants to be able to improve that process. Need to have someway to get to the information that is of some interest to him. attention.xml -- what you've read, in what order, for how long.

Comment from the room: Is attention.xml going to stop working if I stop working on it?

Scoble: would like to be able to import others' attention.xml? What is the most common weblog that I've linked to? What is the most common word that I link to?

Comment from room: Privacy concerns. How do you differentiate what you want to share and what you don't? How do you separate your work, home, school life? Privacy concerns.

Scoble: True, but if it's on my link log I've already decided to make it public.

[my reference: attention.xml]

Scoble: This attention metadata works across companies.

Comment from the room: One way to deal with privacy is to do collaborative filtering -- firefly. Make attention public but anonymous. Folks who are similar to you, have similiar attentions, but you don't have to know who they are.

Comment from the room: Interested in different ways of finding the stuff? How do people get started with the items they want?

Scobe: Would like to hear from people who have less than 20 feeds?

Comment from the room: Not looking at gorging myself on information. Important stuff bubbles to top.

Comment from the room: Bloggers are programmers, in the content-sense. Must understand that the people who are reading have information overload. Incumbent on content producer to know users and, via referrers, know what they are reading. Then moderate your posting. Don't overdue it. Use self-selection on what we comment on.

Comment from the room: Talking about what we want to read. Maybe we also need a list of people that we've stopped listening to.

Comment from the room: This is not a new problem. There have been various solutions to deal with information overload. How do we learn from the thinking that has already gone on on these topics. In many ways, Google is just the ultimate citation index. What traditional solutions can be applied?

Scoble: Two sorts of blogs -- connector blog: linking out; and, commentary blog: write about things but don't often link out. These two need to work together.

Comment from the room: Looking for a thumbs up, thumbs down on feeds. Also looking for a Google-ish type, gather together all the information on a topic structure. Third, a way to export and import feeds and ratings, so that he can tell other people or can move to another feed aggregator.

Comment from the room: What can content publishers do to help people deal with information overload? What do you do as a new blogger to help people sort through your informaton? For example, categories.

Scoble: Categories added too much pain to posting. Uses pubsub to build categories.

Comment from the room: Categories make it easier for me to find things I've written about on a certain topic. It creates a collection of information, resources.

Comment from the room: Not so much categories but communities. Maybe that's a better organization mechanism.

[my reference: I wrote about using using to create categories]

Comment from the room: Would like an aggregator that allows you to search through the feeds that you have already read.

[my reference: google desktop supports this *if* you use IE]

Scoble: Showed his method for reading through his feed, reading, posting.

Comment from the room: How many people are using their blogs for personal memory, reminder and not so much for other consumption? There is a way to index everything locally (this gets to the Google Desktop search).

Scoble: Save things locally, uses folders (folders are names of people).

Comment from the room: When I realize that I have too much stuff in a category, can I find someone who is blogging on this? Can I find an editor to help me deal with this information? It's becoming more possible to find people who are interested in weird specialties. How do you find the people who are good at filters?

Scoble: Linking behavior is a way to find who is adding value to a given community.

Comment from the room: Self-control from bloggers. More important to have good thoughts than quantity of thoughts.

Comment from the room: Once you're in my aggregator, I have to make a negative decision to kick you off. Again, more important to be interesting than frequent.

Scoble: Aggregator in alphabetical view. Why can't I reorganize this based on linking behavior? Most linked to to least linked to. I want to read the least linked to blogger because that's how I add value to the system.

Comment from the room: Funny hear people talking about trying to self-censor feed and not post too much. Cory Doctrow's outward brain, idea. My blog is my outward brain.

Comment from the room: Wants an aggregator to be able to kill all things on a particular story, meme.

[lost a few comments]

Comment from the room: How about what slashdot is doing to help manage the information in comments? A reputation system that works across different blogs, different people.

Scoble: This might also be an answer to comment spam.

Comment from the room: These can happen using various APIs. For example, what is a commentors Technorati link cosmos? Of course, those can be gamed.

Comment from the room: One of the best reputation systems is eBay. Something similiar might work well in this community.

[my reference: omidyar's feedback]

Scoble: Problem is lock-in on community. How does that translate to blogosphere? eBay isn't decentralized. The blogosphere is.

[missed some comments]

Scobe: I see a day when I will subscribe to 10k feeds. And I need better aggregators to help me deal with that.

Comment from the room: Use the whiteboard as a wiki and write down what people think we should do about this issue of information overload.

Comment from the room: I use bloglines. I'd like social networking introduced.

Comment from the room: When we are looking at someone who filters information aren't we going to get back to a centralized model?

Comment from the room: Must be careful about letting one source control our virtual world.

Comment from the room: 3 types of filtering. Content producer self-filters. Intermediaries decide who gets aggregator. And then end user configuration of feedreader.

Comment from the room: One of the ways I deal with this is to get a certain zen acceptance that there might be something wonderful that I don't see. I'm not sure that there are too many blogs.

Scoble: When I meet someone interesting, I ask them why they don't write about what they do? Give their enthusiasm to the web.

Comment from the room: The major overload isn't even the number of blogs but the comments. Once I hit a blog entry and I find 1k linear comments. I can't figure out which ones are on which topics. Which are by smart people.

Comment from the room: One way to deal with overload is to have more of senses of involved -- combine podcasting with a blog. So that they travel --your story and your browser -- together.

[missed some comments]

Comment from the room: Blogohalism is the real problem. We oversubscribe.

Scoble: Out of all the things to be addicted....

[missed a comment, but felt about media/blogs and not info overload]

(in: bloggercon, conferences, weblogs, information_overload, robert_scoble)