Today we live in an environment of the conversational fire hose where the amount and speed of thought coming at the average person is shocking. This goes beyond the much commented invasion of commercial and brand imagery in our lives. This flood is deep content. From white papers, to video and streaming the range of opinions, experts, sharing and debate is becoming overwhelming.
An example from a recent presentation given by Steve Rebel http://www.steverubel.com/ : “Americans consume 100,500 words a day, according to a study by the University of California at San Diego – and that doesn’t include any information at work.”
What’s worse, as more content is digested digitally, we now scan and skim. Usability expert Jakob Nielsen found that on the average web page users read at most 28% of the words. While both of these studies focus only on the US, the “Attention Crash” is a global problem – and it’s not going to get any better.”
The single biggest challenge we face today is how to find time to digest, analyse and hypothesis this tidal wave to enable meaningful social interactions, debate and dialogue. A recent analysis from Nicholas Carr suggests that young people’s brains themselves are evolving and rewiring to deal with this new environment. The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains It may be too soon to detect evolutionary change but there are clear signs from student behaviours to work place studies that new skills are being deployed to surf, sift and rapidly amalgamate this torrent.
The masters of this new world are the freak geeks – let’s call them FG’s it sounds more respectable – the newly equipped youth who can surf this environment, extract knowledge and create amazing new content while sourcing from crowds and keeping a open mind and authentic behaviour. These FG’s are enabled by new web analytical tools and senors that massively improve the individual’s ability to monitor as well as integrate thoughts and conversations. Over the next months we aim to review and collect some of the best of these tools. As I am somewhat afraid of these new devices they will be gathered in that most dangerous of places the gun cabinet.