Information Control

Image representing Netvibes as depicted in Cru...

Do you have information overload? Are you tired of checking a million places for your social updates? I know I am. So I have been looking for a solution to help me improve my personal productivity which will also improve my professional development. I want to be able to see the important news feeds, twitter updates, linkedin info in one area.

First of all, lets talk Dashboards. What are they? According to several sources (Dendas, NetSuite, Wikipedia, SAP) dashboards are user interfaces that allow you to view real-time information, i.e. data, like “key performance indicators” (KPI) and real-time trends. Many times these are created very specifically for businesses to manage their productivity. They can provide analytics that are helpful in making decisions and monitor trends and they do this in a very visual, graphical way. One company, Data-to-Dashboard.Com describes a dashboard as a way of visually describing data in order to achieve goals.

The Netvibe Dashboard we will be reviewing does have a similar high-level data analysis capability for their paid accounts; however, we will be looking at Dashboards as a way to control information.

Does your browser usually look like this with a billion tabs open?

Yes, when we are researching information our information flow tends to look like this; however, when we are “just” monitoring our professional networks, do we really want to have this kind of information system?  Probably not, or at least I definitely do not. I am tired of information overload.

There are browser dashboards that can help manage this flow. The one I really like is called Netvibes. I am primarily interested in Netvibes for the following reasons:

  1. to help control the way in which my many sources of information is displayed
  2. to keep me connected to my social networks

Check out my Netvibes Overview Here:


Also you can check out another YouTube video by MrClarkYIS. He wanted to share how he is Using Netvibes for Teacher Blogs. He describes how Netvibes can be used to manage class blogs. Check it out!

Have fun Netvibing!


It’s not you, it’s the web…

Or should I ask, Can I Control Information Overload with Filters and Tools?

Clay Shirky

First of all, I love Clay Shirky! He really brings the message home, whatever he investigates. However, in his Web 2.0 Expo talk in NY (that we watched for Matt’s EDUC #udsnf12 course), I did not like his claim that

“all the solutions [web/email filtering solutions] are temporary…you have to take the volume increase for granted.”

No, I do not want to take the volume increase for granted! Yuck! Yet, hearing this is liberating. It’s not me, it’s the flow. I am not incapable. I just don’t have the right combination of filters set up. This concept is freeing, really and truly.  I will have to keep modifying my set up, but when I get overloaded, I know that it isn’t me, it’s the flow. As Shirky puts it we are in “post-Gutenberg economics.”

So, in order to manage this phase of info gluttony, I have investigated the following tools:

IFTTT (If This Then That)-an old adage from programming language, eh? I just started using this, but I think this tool will really help me increase my klout score. Is your ego interested in this? Did the Web 2.0 makers come up with this digital expression of online worth? We shall see…  Yet, I do like IFTTT because it allows me to (1) post in multiple places with one expression, (2) it also brings all the information I want together into my google reader-this alone will be awesome. (PS-be sure to check out article below–it looks like IFTTT is dropping TWITTER!)

Netivbes: I was totally enamored with PageFlakes (RIP) until they went belly-up and I lost everything I aggregated in there. I really liked their simplicity. But a new tool came along and now I can do just about everything in Netvibes. I am still learning the extent of this tool and am very excited to do more than collect urls and see my feeds from Facebook, Twitter, etc.. The aggregating tools in Netvibes are immense and I need to figure out how to best utilize them.

Tweetdeck is OK, but I “think” it can do the same thing as Netvibes. I think this tool would be really helpful if you had more than one Twitter account. I would like to hear other opinions about this.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Hootsuite!! I think know I am going to really like Hootsuite! This may be my “go to” tool. I really like the straightforward interface and adding in all kinds of apps. I added my youtube subscriptions and they play right in Hootsuite! Awesome! And there are about a million more apps to add in like Evernote too!

So, what’s the difference between content curation and content aggregation? Well, this site really helped me out  and from that I have the following understanding.

From Secret Sculpture Garden

Content Curation means sharing other people’s content and information with my friends and connections in some awesome and very deliberate way, like using a website. Curation has my personal touch on it.

Content Aggregation means pulling a bunch of information together and not sifting through it to get the good stuff. This is usually via some sort of search process or aggregator that automatically pulls information in.

I am seeing the differences between the two in this way. Content Aggregation is like throwing a bucket of paint on the wall while Content Curation is like using many colors to create a beautiful mural.

from something else studios

What do YOU think?

Pintrest and Twitter and Blogs, Oh My! The Yellow Brick Road of the Web.

wizard of oz 70th celebration

This blog post is in response to Mathieu Plourde’s UD course, Social Networking (SN) week 3 question.

“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home” (Ken Olsen, 1977) Ok, we can find this rather funny now, but 36 years ago, this sounded reasonable. Which leads me to consider how outdated my current personal feelings might be about social networking and where we will be 36 years from now. Can you imagine it? 36 years from now? (The year will be 2048 and I don’t even want to tell you that I will be an octogenarian then!)

Will we have found the yellow brick road or the poppy field? Probably a mix, if it is like everything else.

How do we manage it, so that it does not manage us? Stephen Mangat’s video describing how he is using SN was incredibly helpful. He described how he sets up accounts to automate information dissemination and then he sticks to a schedule to do particular tasks like professional development, managing monthly tweet ideas, etc.

1. So, I think the first plan would be to develop a social networking plan with a coordinating schedule and stick to it.

And then do not drive yourself crazy by checking it ALL of the time-this is a pitfall!

2. Create some type of management dashboard.

This semester for my project I will be exploring the use of the tool Netvibes. Tools like this allow people like us who want to participate in all things web with a way to manage, in one space, our links and our social media. If anyone would like to join me in this project idea, please let me know.

3. Utilize RSS feeds and email filters.

As Matt described these two options in class, I realized that these two concepts can really help clean up and organize my inbox. I started using the email filter, but still need to explore how I want to receive rss content.

4. And, finally, we need to pre-determine how we will manage our inboxes when we finally get a chance to go offline. Maybe email filters….perhaps??

In this article, 5 Tips for Managing Information Overload, the 5th tip says to “Disconnect Often.” I think this is truly helpful, but not if we are going to go crazy dreaming of an ever-populating in-box, twitter feed and the like. If you check out that article be SURE TO READ THE COMMENTS, one person talked about “more wired, more tired” and the lack of actually doing things of substance and truly finishing tasks. It sounds very similar to our class discussion from Monday.

All the best, I wish us much brain power this semester!

Oh, and just so that you know, becuase I was taking so long to write this post, WordPress logged me out and didn’t save anything. So…I had to write it again. Lesson learned, you wiley web, you!