Aggregator Ambience: The cure for Information Overload?

I was intrigued by this extract from the Headshift weblog:

“The new Web 2.0 tools and services help create an ecosystem of connected people and information – as David Weinberger put it this week: The cure to information overload is more information, only it should become more ambient.

We need to let people organise their inputs by exposing all relevant information in granular feed form and then provide smart aggregation and tagging tools to create a personal eco-system of content, cues and links.”

(emphasis mine)

This reminded me of Ambient music. I used to be a bit of a Brian Eno fan – he was the guy who ‘invented’ Ambient music.

Time to coin a new phrase (I haven’t done that in a while). Applied to RSS and blogging, Aggregator Ambience is when information envelops us but doesn’t require our complete attention. We let Web 2.0 tools and services, along with our social network and serendipity, pick out the bits and pieces we want to pay attention to. It’s what all RSS Aggregator developers should be aiming for, Aggregator Ambience. This is one of the strong points of Rojo btw.

Not unrelated is this discussion of the ‘River of News’ style of reading RSS feeds. As Dave Winer puts it: “…you just view the page of new stuff and scroll through it. It’s like sitting on the bank of a river, watching the boats go by. If you miss one, no big deal.”

The Ambience and River of News metaphors appeal to me because they are laid-back, almost Zen, ways of approaching the issue of Information Overload. No more anxiety, no need to pore over every single piece of microcontent that flows through your RSS Aggregator. Just chill out and let the information wash over you like a Brian Eno record.

Ahhhhhhhh….. now, if only I could live my life that way! Hmmm, maybe I just need to go listen to some Eno music 🙂

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