We are living in an age of distraction and noise

by on May 20, 2009

Do you ever get to the end of a day and feel exhausted only to realize instead accomplishing one complete task, you have actually spent most of your time consuming micro bits of junk.

Never before has the world been so inter connected. There is so much information to consume it can sometimes feel like we are sinking in a sea of data. You can spend most of your day being poked on facebook, tagged on photo sites, updating your twitter account, watching 30 second clips on youtube and networking on linkedIN. Truly our generation is awash with choice.

The current shift in the internet has been to make small chunks of information that are updated in real time. Youtube offered people the 2 minute video clip, allowing the person sitting at home on their couch the opportunity to become an online star. Facebook has meant we can see what our network is up to in real time. We can ask for reviews, query dates of concerts or simply throw a sheep their way. Twitter has continued this shift towards micro data, updated in real time. People now add important information 140 chars at a time. I wanted to get feedback on the new Eben Pagen course yesterday, it was released at 4pm (my time). Did I go searching on Google for this information. No, I tweeted about it and got real time interaction with people who also had the same questions.

Google has a couple of hurdles to jump to keep up with this current shift. The first issue posed by social networks is how quick they are to update. Twitter is like a real time search engine. I have talked before on social media alerts and how these can be used to create your own mini search engine that delivers information to your door every morning. This is something Google cannot compete with. Although their index is much improved (if your content goes social), it still takes a little time to get a page crawled (and who can blame them with over a trillion web pages). The next issue is people tend to trust other people a lot more than a search engine. We see in the states that PPC traffic share is down 26%. Yes the recession has something to do with this. But people are getting more internet savy and beginning to understand those positions are not based on accuracy but were bought. This is why an organic listing still gets clicked on 80% more than a PPC listing. If I were to ask for a review on Eben Pagens new course, I would probably trust a contact over a search engine result (that would be dominated by affiliates plugging his stuff).

But Google has started to make waves on the social front. They have OpenSocial, Google Friend Connect, Google Profiles and a new plugin for blogs that allow you to recommend content on a site. Let’s face it. Google are pretty damn good in terms of being a the forefront of the online space. I am sure they haven’t let the shift towards real time information go unnoticed.

Hmm, I have gone a little off topic. You see what living in a world of noise and distraction does ?. Social media and real time information is without doubt the future of the web. But it also adds a hell of a lot of noise and distraction to a persons day. I mean, if someone sent you a 2 minute youtube clip of a monkey kicking someone in the balls, its a lot harder to pass up than if they sent you a full episode of star trek. Now add up all those clips you get sent throughout the day and you would probably have been better off watching the star trek episode (if you are into that kind of thing).

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