I have been thinking a lot about information systems on the Internet, and how, more than ever, the way we use the Internet is getting more and more connected.
On the surface, this might seem obvious – one of the great early advantages of the Internet was the interconnectedness of information, using the now ubiquitous hyperlink. What I am talking about is more the interconnection of services that is becoming available, all dedicated to distributing your information when and where you need it.
I use many different web services, such as Twitter, Facebook, Jott, I Want Sandy, Gmail, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and Google Reader. The list could go on and on. Although separate companies, they are slowly but surely becoming enmeshed. Information can be transferred from one service to another. I can call Jott, and it will post a message to my Twitter feed. That Twitter feed will update my Facebook. That Facebook update will send out an alert to Friend Feed, and so on and so on. I can cross-post information, or announce to one service when I have updated another, spreading my message across the Internet.
Some people are becoming concerned with this, fearful that all this information can become overwhelming. Recently on Twitter the Queen of Spain posted this message that encapsulated things perfectly for me:
“So am I just the crazy one who’s never gotten an IM via AIM from facebook as a friend updated her status…?? “
All of these pieces of information are being filtered through several steps, passed around the Internet, and getting delivered to you in a variety of ways. Yes, it can be overwhelming. More and more people are joining the conversation, more and more people are getting involved, and it’s a very exciting time to be part of things.
What is important to do is to find the tools that work the best for you, for your different needs. You don’t need to be involved with everything. I use Jott rather than Utterz, because Jott works for me. I use Twitter rather than Jaiku or Pownce, because Twitter works for me. If you try to do everything, yes, you can get overwhelmed. If you focus on the most useful tools, you can easily enrich your Internet experience.
I have mentioned some of the tools I find useful. What about you? What Internet tools can you not live without?