Saturday, 7 August 2010

Real Time

Waking up at 7:18am this morning after a reportedly good night's sleep (thanks to my Sleep Cycle app), I did my usual sweep of twitter, RSS, email etc. I feel guilty when I see my Google Reader exceed 1000 unread posts, but alas this morning it was looking that way... time to get reading.

And then a lovely little post plopped on screen discussing the real-time web... and how it doesn't work. 

I like most love the access to the wealth of information on the web. As a student who grew up in the realisation of the web's capabilities, I was privy to the guidelines of how to shop for 'good' information. This was, however, before iPhones, Twitter, Facebook...  After re-learning how to navigate the information you WANT to read as opposed to sifting through the dross you don't, it was fairly interesting that from one evening to the next morning, I had over 1000 snippets and clips to work through to feed my guilt.... 1000?

Sure, if you pick up a paper, there are articles that you glide over without a moment's consideration - its made for the breadth of the country - and we sure as hell differ on our opinions and interests. But to have honed an information feed that ticks all my boxes and to have that amount of information to sift through with my morning earl grey tea seemed a little absurd.

This is why the article caught my specific attention. We can be online and find the most up-to-date, ground breaking news via...... word. of. mouth                ?????

OK - so its not actual spoken word, and its not a game of Chinese whispers either. It is, however, real-time. A tweet flies in on your tweet deck reporting that a building in down-town Vancouver has just caught fire sending the surrounding blocks into mass panic and littering the streets with fire trucks and police (this is not real!). Try and find that same news stream on BBC / CNN / Sky News 24 and its not there? We forget how spoilt we now are in our information and news saturated channels that we assume that the organisations actually 'reporting' this stuff need a bit of human-time to process, write, gather and publish. We've become impatient.

Are we allowed to be impatient? Is it not more exciting to consider a world without the slow press, where we can feed one another information as it breaks, at the drop of a hat, and watch the story unfold as more information is available through the power of real-time communications?

One one hand, I love this idea. I'm hellishly impatient - behind the wheel, queuing, fitness, dieting... but then again - what if I had woken at 8:18am, missed another hour's worth of posts and feeds, and the once 'breaking' news story of a couple of hours ago has become lost in the midst of more morning musings and happenings... well, then I get to indulge in my still loved printed press. Opinionated, colourful, tactile and full of other lovely things like crosswords, recipes, travel offers and stories that we would have completely missed had we been channelled purely to our own media lists.


I think I may have somewhat solved my own guilt in missing a few RSS feeds. I shall hence boil the kettle again for another earl grey tea (and possibly a digestive or two since I am off for a run thereafter), make my way through a few more posts and then mark the rest as read. If I get time later, I might revisit them. Although by then there will be a whole new sparkling list for me to magpie my way through.

In short - yes - we all have a certain responsibility to stay abreast of news, developments, opinions and events that effect us in our work and daily lives, but don't let it guilt trip you into thinking you must consume it all. I'm a big believer in luck - if I'm meant to read it then so be it. The others... ah well I'm sure someone at work will be on top of it!

Catch me on Twitter - pricetta / Marketing Buzz

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