Feb 11, 2009

Too Much Information

To keep me current with the latest news, views, and gossip on Second Life and Virtual Worlds, I use Google Alerts. This is a cool feature that Google offers that allows you to track posts on any topic you want. I have three phrases I track: Second Life, Virtual World, and Sigmund Leominster. Yes, I admit that the latter has more to do with my narcissistic tendencies but on balance it isn't an issue because unsurprisingly there are less postings on "Sigmund Leominster" than Mickey Mouse has fingers on his left hand.

The problem is that even excluding the self-absorbed referent, I can get up to 70 posts in a day that show up in my Google alerts widget. That is an incredible number to sift through. Some can be ignored straight out - "Mac Classic Gets Second Life As Fishbowl" would show up as a headline but it has nothing to do with what I'm interested in.

If I then don't check for a couple of days, the list gets huge. There is, quite literally, too much information.

So I use another handy-dandy tool; a Firefox plug-in called "Read It Later." This puts a little check mark in my address window and if I go to a page with a story that looks interesting, I click on the check mark. This gets added to my "Read It Later" list. The list then appears under a button in my toolbar, where I can then re-read them at a later stage.

And speaking of add-ins, there is another one I find very useful called "Clipmarks." That is similar but allows you to snag large pieces of text from a site.

These two add-ins at least give me a fighting chance at winnowing though the haystack of news to find the kernals of wheat that I can use to bake stories.