The amount of unstructured content being produced is increasing at an exponential rate and is increasingly spread across repositories, uncategorized, and untagged. Is your first thought:
- A. Oh my gosh! How can these information assets be protected?
- B. Oh my gosh! How am I going to be able to find anything or notice anything important?
- C. Oh my gosh! How can I make money by creating technology products to ride this wave?
- D. Oh my gosh! How can I make sure my target consumers notice my product messaging in all this noise?
- E. Big deal. This has been happening since Gutenberg and we have always adapted.
- F. That’s why I don’t use computers.
From your response, I think I can tell who you are:
- A. You are an information security, legal, identity, or privacy practitioner
- B. You are an overburdened information worker, the IT owner of information systems, or a researcher in human computing interfaces (HCI), augmented cognition (AugCog), or user interface/experience design (UI or UX)
- C. You are a software vendor (or pharmaceutical researcher for 5-Hour Energy!)
- D. You are in marketing, probably trying to increase sales for a discretionary product
- E. You are a pundit
- F. You are a Luddite
Seriously though, I’m amazed at the number of narratives that launch in different directions from this common “information everywhere” starting point. And each role has difficulty seeing the other angles. Take me for example – through my research and writing on enterprise attention management, I live in bubble B (how to find and notice important stuff). Most people I read and interact with on this subject are also in bubble B, so it becomes easy to forget there are so many people that are equally focused on their angle.
As another example, when I met with a bunch of “context aware computing” analysts, they were almost entirely focused on helping service providers utilize context (starting with location based services) to hit consumers with the right message at the right time to increase their sales (choice D).
Information proliferation will continue so it’s important to recognize all of the response vectors, ranging from opportunity to threat. Preparation is the best defense.