26 February 2010

Streams of content, limited attention

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Danah Boyd, a social media researcher at Microsoft Research, wrote a long piece for UX Magazine on “what it means to be ‘in flow’ in an information landscape defined by networked media”, based on a talk she gave at O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 Expo last November.

Her focus on alignment – rather than attention – is an idea worth exploring.

“The goal is not to be a passive consumer of information or to simply tune in when the time is right, but rather to live in a world where information is everywhere. To be peripherally aware of information as it flows by, grabbing it at the right moment when it is most relevant, valuable, entertaining, or insightful. Living with, in, and around information. Most of that information is social information, but some of it is entertainment information or news information or productive information. Being in flow with information is different than Csikszentmihalyi’s sense, as it’s not about perfect attention, but it is about a sense of alignment, of being aligned with information.”

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Also check the Economist’s Special Report on Managing Information.

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