I recently had the privilege of hearing David Weinberger, author of The Cluetrain Manifesto speak at a New York Technology Council event at Frankfurt, Kurnit. David Weinberger is a Harvard researcher and most recently author of Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren’t the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room is the Room. (#2B2K)
Quite a catchy title. Ain’t it? You really have to sit and think about it, don’t you? If you’ve been using the internet and been keeping up on all of the various “NEWS” sites, reading articles on blogs, reviews on e-commerce sites, participating in forums and researching a multitude of topics — then you know that there’s just a lot of stuff out there. There’s a lot of information to weed through on the web. And, yesterday I was working on a project for a client to pull together a list of the top CEOs that blog, and nearly all of the Technorati Top 100 Blogs were news sites — like the Huffington Post and Venture Beat. News sites are blogs. And blogs are news sites too. Interesting how the lines have blurred.
Many of us believe much of what we read online and take it as gospel. Everyone’s got a Point-of-View (POV), and if it jives with ours, well, then, it’s credible. So we think. David so eloquently demonstrated his POV with a quote attributed to the late Senator Patrick Moynihan “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. Not his own facts.”
Point is, it’s tough to vet what’s out there in the cyberworld. From Marketers to PR peeps, to Publishers to News, we tend to believe much of the content developed by people who are promoting themselves or their client’s services and products.
I work on this very problem with executive clients who are at the top of their industry. I am brought in to help them separate the wheat from the chaff and to help them focus on what they need to know in terms of digital & technology for their business. And frankly, I love it. The types of problems I help solve are one or all of the following: 1) how to use “digital” for their business — for example, using digital products to enhance their product/service offering; 2) how to incorporate digital marketing into their marketing and sales efforts; and 3) how to establish their own personal digital blueprint online.
The process that I have devised for their customized solution is:
More on my process later in a follow-up post.
David also talked about how “there’s no such thing as information overload…only filter failure.” I think that’s where most people throw their hands up and shut down. It’s important to establish criteria for yourself on what your filters are for information that is useful to you. You only have so much time to vet what you’re consuming. Trouble is, there is way too much information out there, and our brain literally cannot handle it. It’s so overwhelming.
I have to tell you, after hearing David speak it validated my observations and feelings of being hamstrung by the amount of information that comes at me in a day — between TV, Email, Texts, Newsletters, Websites, Flipboard, Facebook, Twitter, Podcasts, Streaming, etc. it’s just a crazy amount of content. It also validated the vetting process that I developed for myself and for my clients.
I’ll leave you with this quote from David Weinberger: “For every fact on the internet there is an equal and opposite fact.” Now that’s believable. I think.
- Keen On… David Weinberger: Too Big To Know (TCTV) (techcrunch.com)
- Too Big to Know: David Weinberger explains how knowledge works in the Internet age (boingboing.net)
- To Know, but Not Understand: David Weinberger on Science and Big Data (geodatapolicy.wordpress.com)