2 min read

The Frustrations of a Disconnected Digital Life


I’m a stickler for organization and orderliness. That’s why my online (and more generally my tech) life is propelling me to a digital breakdown.

The craziness of my laptop’s desktop at the end of the day, e-mail to read and respond to, RSS aggregator to manage, online groups, articles to read, bookmarks to delete, news to track, news that gets left behind – it’s just too much.

Sadly enough, I actually have a system too – and for the most part it works – but not well enough.

Why should I have to have a system to manage my digital life? Why should it be so disconnected? Why shouldn’t there be a better way to tie it all together? Why shouldn’t it be integrated? Why is it my fault that MySpace and Xanga won’t play nice and as a result I can’t connect to some of my friends? The same question goes for IM.

Why can’t I easily export my e-mails from one web based system to another? After all, they are my e-mails. If you don’t want me to switch to another service than just make sure yours is the best and I won’t.

I hate managing my music, e-mail, RSS feeds, and even the files on my computer – but it is a necessary evil, a necessary task if I want to actually be efficient and effective in work.

Web 2.0 is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to this issue. In terms of the amount of information on the web, it is pushing extraordinary growth. But for the individual, there is just too much information out there. Too many smart people with too many good things to say.

With all this data, search has basically become useless to me. I use the search engines more as a bookmarking tool than in actually finding relevant content. And they are becoming increasingly flooded with blog results, even though they are not specifically blog search engines – go figure. In point of fact, I find myself using blog search engines to find good data more and more. Even though it’s not the best example, I think that means vertical search will have a bright future.

On Monday, at BrainJams DC, someone asked me a very poignant question about the future of blogging. I can’t remember the exact wording but the essence was “What’s going to happen with blogging? There are just too many blogs out there.”

It’s true – there are. And many of them want but get no attention. Bloggers often throw in the towel because of that, because they feel like no matter they do, they won’t win. They can’t get the readership they want.

I liken that case to what I’m experiencing. No, it is not an apples to apples comparison. But as the blogger feels hopeless, so too does the person who faces information overload and the inability to manage a digital life.

If we want Web 2.0 to truly arrive, things have got to get simpler. Until then, I’m experimenting with my approach to these sorts of problems. In light of the fact that my frustrations are not going to be alleviated any time soon, it is obvious I’m going to have to take matters into my own hands. I’m going have to have a better system because there is not better software. I’ll report back on the progress I make – most likely will be another 7 series.

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