Sunday, October 24, 2010

Making sense of it all

There's an interesting article in the Huffington Post (What innovations will rock our world in the next 25 years?) that presents a few technology trends that are most likely to make a major impact in the future. The trends spotted here are mostly unsurprising: cloud computing, nanotech, mobility, networked objects and focus on design.

The part that most interested me was about how we make sense of all the information that flows past us every day. I collect an awful lot of links and ideas in the average week which I dutifully bookmark and tag them on Delicious, spread them on Twitter and blog about some of them. However once I've done that I admit that I have great difficulty in finding it again in say 3 months even if I have tagged it. There's simply so much material that I need a meta-organiser to make sense of it all for me. What trends are hiding in all the content? How can I classify it all in more meaningful ways?

This is a point raised by George Siemens in a post How do you manage your information? that I also found yesterday. I work with a scaled down version of the model presented in this article but the points he raises about finding trends and patterns is very relevant. Most of the filtering and sorting we do today is manual and not very efficient. New applications like Flipboard (that I'm just downloading) claim to select and organise interesting content from the people I follow in various social networks. Tools like this are already filtering some of the content and saving us a lot of information overload stress. But what's still missing is the ability to see patterns and present trends in it all. If we can achieve that we will really have made a breakthrough.

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