Stan James, CEO of Lijit, has a nice post up titled The Cocktail Party Effect. He illustrates how the process of listening to only one person at a cocktail party (while your ears hear many other voices) takes form on the internet.
Creating meaning out of the information overload (or many e-cocktail conversations) most of us ingest on a daily basis is one of the central challenges of the web 2.0 world. For more on this, check out Ryan McIntyre on "intelligence amplification".
2 comments on “The Cocktail Party Effect on the Web”
I like Stan’s viewpoint on the issue. We’ve all experienced that phenomenon but everyone focuses on why/how it happens, not how something supercedes the reaction. I think it’s rooted alot in our evolution – the ability to focus on a singular objective has been extremely important in our history.
We all have to much information to absorb, and until the singularity is upon us and we turn in robots, we have to figure out ways to seperate relavent/interesting information from garbage.
How do we choose what’s important to listen to? How do we emulate that selection process given all the information of the web?
There are people making strides in this, and I agree that your social network is the best choice I see out there now. Take one of my favorite sns sites http://www.involver.com – they use tags to connect people with events they’d enjoy. Far more often though I look at the events my friends are attending and discover through that. The reason social-networking is so effective, is because it’s so intuitive. Being “good” at using a search engine to find what you want requires learning how to search… it’s not intuitive. social networking sites have done a good job of emulating a common practice. I can call/sms/email my friends and ask them what thier doing, or I can log on to involver and see the next event (or the event i’d probably like the most, or the event nearest me, etc) for all my friends.
Social Networking is a really easy way for non-techies to sort information, and I think because of that it’s an integral part of where the web is headed. The goal needs to be to figure out a way to attach serious meaning to social networks.
Speaking of cocktail parties, what happened to the old photo? I liked it. Why the business attire? Is the blog taking a turn for the Serious? Did I miss the blog discussion of the photo?