Will you be my filter?

At some point in recent years, the Internet got away from me.

My gmail inbox filled to 7,866 unread messages, I let my google news reader bloat to 1000+ unread blog posts, and a dozen lifelong friends have poked my lifeless corpse on facebook to no avail. It’s tough sailing out there in the ocean of all human knowledge – and there seems to be no letting up on the amount of stuff I have to keep up with.I retreated to a few key sources of information, which has surprisingly kept me well-informed if in an often serendipitous nature:

1 – Work conversations. Or rather adhoc conversations in the kitchen with a few key people I have identified who seem to be very passionate about the subjects I’m interested in (gaming, technology, nerdy stuff) and presumably do the laborious task of trawling the blogs daily and then distill those juicy nuggets of information for me. If I’m lucky, these conversations are followed-up with email links to the actual article or youtube video.

2 – Magazines. Printed. I have not ever come across an online resource that is as informative, wide-ranging, and able to be completely consumed in a short amount of time as an issue of the New Yorker or Wired magazine. No, not even the New Yorker online. Possibly a podcast of This American Life, and possibly because that doesn’t have hyperlinks to distract you endlessly.

3 – Delicious. I opened a delicious account because I wanted to save and publish my links. Then people I knew started to subscribe to me on delicious, and before long I realized that my delicious network was a really good Internet filter. My online friends were sorting through the information out there and filtering out the good stuff to save. Not only that, some people I didn’t know subscribed to my links, and they turned out to be even better filters! (http://delicious.com/network/haiyan)In the ever-growing expanse of information we’re going to need filters – and the best filters are still people. Tools like delicious are helping to tap into the power of the collective to create new filtering tools.

So what (and who) are the filters that you use?


  1. Hello I wonder what happened to the android camera tutorial, it was excellent and I learned a lot, but now it seems you have taken it down?


  2. I agree about your point about people. In terms of what I use, I actually find I am my most prevalent filter. If I use a tool or participate in a social media vehicle, then either I tailor its use for my lifestyle or I stop using it.Getting off the bandwagon just means that either the application or mediums does not suit my needs or that I unable to use it for whatever reason. You end up doing yourself a disservice if you hand out an e-mail address but never respond or sign up for a service that your friends participate in but never contribute.It’s okay to narrow your activities to people that you physically see or talk to all the time, and some may say it’s a much more grounded approach to all this Internet ‘stuff’. It’s okay to try everything. Just know when to disconnect yourself instead of remaining tethered to everything that’s out there. Ultimately, you’re your own best sieve.

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