Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Professional clutter

Posted by lpearle on 1 February 2010

One of the sessions I “attended” at Educon was “Managing Filter Failure: Getting to the Good Stuff“.  This wasn’t about how schools (and students) often miss out of “good stuff” because of CIPA-mandated filters, it was about what we often call “information overload” and what Clay Shirky says is really “filter failure”.

We talked a lot about what our concerns were and how we managed things.  The word that kept coming up the most was “guilt” – guilt that we weren’t as aware as we should be, that others were getting ahead while we were treading water, that we weren’t doing the best job/providing the best experience for our schools because we weren’t staying on top of it all.  There are some (and I’m not going to name names, you know who you/they are!) that appear to always been in the know, following every new trend/pedagogical change/tech innovation and Thinking Big Thoughts about it all in coherent, concise posts and tweets.  There are also those that have such wide-ranging interests, some of which I share and some of which I really care less about.

As my New Year’s Resolutions suggest, this is an area of some concern for me. I’m not saying that there is no value to keeping up – there is! there is! – but that there’s no way we can do it all.

So then comes the question, how do I manage?  RSS and iGoogle and Pageflakes and the delete button are all fine and dandy, but they don’t meet all my needs.  There are some really wonderful people I get a lot from, but then they have a child/adopt a pet and half their conversation is about the new addition to their lives; there are others who are now playing with Foursquare and that kind of intimate knowledge of their lives clutters their professional contribution to mine.  How do I filter out the clutter and keep the good stuff?  Is there a twitter feed filter that will delete all the Foursquare and puppy tweets? How do I get rid of the multiple retweets/link love so that I only see the same information once?

LizB and Wendy have interesting takes on the “shoulds” and the privacy issues.

This just popped into my RSS feed.  It reminds me that it’s ok to not be the most In the Know, that there are things I can let go.  And that most of all, it’s important to breathe.

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