White Bread & Mayo


White Bread Sandwich

In a blog post last week, I frustrated about the information overload that we all face.  I am especially concerned how Social Media seems to be a major contributor to the flood of stuff.  I am still not clear how to manage that, but I received a very helpful suggestion that frightened me.

Don Frederiksen hopes that automatic curation could solve our information overload.  The idea is that a software system could examine what I read and respond to; then provide me with only that kind of content.  Seems like  a great plan.  Figure out what I want to consume and give it to me.  I never see anything that I don’t want to see.  I never see anything that I disagree with…wait…there’s the rub.

I admit that I am suspicious that any system can figure me out.  I am weird and complicated and wonderful.  I have a bit of experience with Gmail trying to help.  I installed a lab app that promised to flag important messages for me.  That horrible experiment wasted a ton of time and seldom got anything right.

The disconcerting problem  relates back to my title.  Sometimes I really do like white bread and mayo but not every time.  Some days I enjoy being confronted and challenged.  I learn so much more from folks who disagree.  They question me and cause me to examine my beliefs.

I don’t like feeling swamped by all the messages coming at me, but I like even less the idea of something deciding what I should see.  Perhaps I underestimate the awesomeness of automatic curation.

What do you think?  Is the loss seeing diverse ideas a risk?  Is it worth it to pare the flood of data down to some reasonable rate?

Are we farther down this path than I suspect?  Isn’t this really what Google’s PageRank & Facebook’s OpenGraph are doing already?  And I thought Big Brother was going to be the government deciding everything for me.


23 thoughts on “White Bread & Mayo

  1. George J Lloyd says:

    If we let users (software, humans or any other system) curate our lifes we won’t have a life …to have the choice is part of our life. I don’t like the idea. Sounds like 1984.

  2. langer5635 says:

    Harold, I’m with you, way too much info to take in, yet, do we accept a system of overlords to pare down the onslaught and only pass along that which they deem fit for us?

  3. Let everyone be themselves… peer pressure whether it be food or clothes is destroying our soul

  4. Neil Ferree says:

    the curation model you reference sounds a little like how trap.it works for me. what’s cool is that you can train it to curate content you favor vs. run of the mill stuff • give it a shot @ferreemoney

  5. I personally like to pare down what I want and not what someone else wants for me. I want my own creative juices to flow in whatever direction I chose.

  6. Paula Henry says:

    All the messages……endless! I often find myself trapped in an overwhelming maze of clicks. I’m choosing more consciously what I want to read and pass on.

  7. David says:

    Harold it is not slowing down any time soon… We will be getting more information over time not less.

  8. Why does Google/Youtube now need to know your mobile number to verify your account? We are lioke lab rats these days we are tagged and they know every move we make .

  9. maryehaight says:

    The heaps of information can be overwhelming, but I think we already have enough pathways to deciding what opinions or topics we will and won’t listen to. It’s dangerous to live in a bubble and boring to hear only those topics you are currently interested in. I don’t want a computer program censoring what I see. Thanks for your post;)

  10. Louis says:

    social media can be frightening – google decides to ad my location to any search results, thing is it never ads MY location but rather the neighboring city – sometimes google decides I am in Pasadena, CA which is 40+ miles away, facebook places ads, based on my likes – so facebook thinks I must really like Canada and floods me with Canadian only ads – so I wholeheartedly disagree with automated personalization. Period.

    • Louis I really hear you. My experiment with getting a Gmail addin to help prioritizing my email was an abject failure. People make lots of mistakes, but to really screw it up it takes a computer. On the other hand, Goggle has built its economic empire by delivering personalized ads with their search results. I am not sure how it all ends up. I just think we need to be watchful and cautious. Thanks for commenting.

  11. Luigi Cappel says:

    I have the same problem/opportunity and it is difficult at times. I don’t agree with automatic curation though, thanks for trying it:) To me that is about the same as driver-less cars. I like driving and learning new things. The challenge is being prepared to hit the delete button from time to time. I belong to so many interest groups and love to stay on the crest of the wave. Sometimes I can’t and that’s ok. I can live with that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: