For almost two years, I’ve been thinking of ways to fight information overload. My beliefs were subject to animated discussions with colleagues and bosses at my newspaper, in France. They also informed the innovation proposal I submitted to the Knight Journalism fellowship at Stanford, late 2011. And finally, I have proof that I have not been delusional or wasting my time all these years!
The introductory observation sounds *very* familiar:
“With email and the social feeds that followed, we increased the speed of our communications to instant. More recently, thanks to the shift to mobile, our exposure to these communications has proliferated, creating an ‘always-on’ society where interactions happen in real-time, rather than when we choose to fit them into our live.
Even when we’re not being demanded to provide real-time responses, we find our attention drawn to information streams as news breaks, conversations take place, and opinions are formed.”
This reminds me of one editor whom I discussed my project with and who assumed that the existence of this ‘always-on’ society was actual proof that the user/reader wanted to be constantly fed with content as events happened. I tried to argue that people were rather shaping their schedules and minds to follow the constantly in-flying flow of news and starting to suffer from FOMO or worse…
However, GfK noted that, lately, several “innovative new products and services have responded to this overload” – they range from Instapaper to The Little Printer, via Undrip and iDoneThis. I would add news services like Circa, Newsbound, Pocket and Summly to this list.
These tools – and the one I’m working on now – are doing nothing less than… “shaping the next stage in the evolution of information accessibility”, writes GfK.
And this represents a major challenge for content providers:
“With traditional consumption continuing to fragment and the growth of on- demand media, trying to integrate seamlessly with individual consumer lifestyles is no longer optional.”
Let’s just see how long it takes for them to figure this out… ;-)