This morning I couldn’t resist the urge to air out my issue with relevance as an overloaded word.
In the quest for relevant knowledge we spend hours each week (or day) sifting through mountains of data in order to discover information critical to our success. Dozens of services specialize and survive by delivering relevant content.* There’s a thin line between brilliant success and obsolescent oblivion.
Mark Suster identified the key areas that he see’s as opportunities for improving personal relevance for shared information. His ideal relevance filter will include information sliced by friends, sliced by influencer graph, and sliced by interest graph.
A few of my favorite tech bloggers have reviewed the question and answer service Quora, and overall it has received high marks. Mark Suster started it off back in August, Robert Scoble, Mahendra Palsule, and Louis Gray chimed in recently. All of these gents have discussed Quora in a positive light. The site features answer voting, tagging of questions, and comments. The service provides a topic follow model in addition to following specific users, and updates participants with configurable emails.
The vast majority of visitors here are socially referred from sites like HackerNews or Reddit. Twitter, Google reader, and direct visits make up most of the rest of the traffic. I realize my blog is fairly small as far as traffic goes (140k visitors in the last year), but it’s noteworthy how search appears to be the most random source of visits, contrary to what I’d expect.
You can’t always read what you want
There’s an unchecked level of curiosity which leads to wanting to consume too much information. I should know after visiting that sinister state this morning. Sifting through a few dozen articles and documents left me wondering how much information can we reliably consume and apply. In hindsight of my past year of reading , the answer is far less than optimism would lead me to believe. My digital baggage has only grown.
In just the past week, morning temperatures in the north east have dropped 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit. The huge drop in humidity and rise in air quality have transformed sweaty morning marches into refreshing strolls. These are welcome changes which help reinforce my attention to time. The cooler weather signals an end to summer, and a time of transition as leaves fall to the earthen floor below.
Each person we communicate with is unique, yet we share and are loosely connected by topics of interest. Instinctively we are drawn to communities that share our deepest desires. Leaders and trend setters pave the way for community formation by defining it’s core and identity.
Founder of SocialToo Jesse Stay says the web is no longer open. He states that only a few large entities own the flow of information through both social and searchable web. DeWitt Clinton a Google software engineer responded with an eloquent description of what open means to him, and how even small budget businesses could construct a highly functional search engine (I keep bugging DeWitt and others about open semantic processing tools and interfaces).