Found an interesting tweet today courtesy of Marjie Knudsen, regarding the need to filter what commands our attention. Reminds me a bit of the APML (Attention Profile Markup Language) work I ran into as part of the highly-technical DataPortability.org. Marjie reference an article called Where Social Learning Thrives, written by Marcia Conner. Here is a section of the article that I focused on:'
'Yet in most classrooms, young people are prevented from helping each other learn and succeed... Part of why we are not better at helping one another learn and grow is that our attention is spread thin. There is so much going on... By choosing wisely where we place our attention, we have more attention and enthusiasm to give. Or as Clay Shirky put it at Web 2.0 Expo NY, "It's not information overload. It's filter failure."
Social learning is accelerated when we give our attention to individuals, groups and projects that interest and energize us. We self-select the themes we want to follow and filter out those that feel burdensome, all with impunity... It's the technology of social learning, and social media in general, that allows us to regulate our attention to those areas where we can gain the highest return on investment, and put our best contributions out into the world.'
While I don't disagree that there is certainly an exponentially increasing stream of data in the world today, I will add that there are also many more opportunities to focus on subjects of personal interest than ever before. However, to achieve this takes work.
Looking back on my life as a child, I don't remember having such challenges and opportunities. I firmly believe that a person who dedicates themselves to filtering would end up a better educated and smarter individual. My own personal set of tools includes using Google Reader to aggregate more than 1000 RSS feeds and then using social filtering, Yahoo Pipes and other tools to filter that information.