Following on from my post about Silicon Valley being like living in your RSS reader, in which I argued that the noise can become deafening without the right filters, Marshall Kirkpatrick has countered with a great post on Why Online Noise Is Good For You.
He points to FriendFeed‘s recent addition of a “best of” filter, which allows a user to view only the items their friends find most popular. He also raises some excellent reasoning why noise is good. The term that resonates most with me is serendipity, or as Sanda Erdelez terms it “bumping into information”.
I am glad Marshall has raised the argument that noise is good. I totally agree with him. I could not operate without a high level of noise as it allows me to put my pattern recognition skills to work and create my own flow charts and trend analysis.
My filtering does not take the form of an online service backed up by a smart algorithm or two. Instead I like to immerse myself in the information flow, swimming with it and bumping up relevant noise for a closer look.
[Picture courtesy of maxf]