Faster, Better, Cheaper… choose better

Hard to believe that a few years ago, we were marveling at the power that web2.0 was giving us to publish our own content.  Now we’re overwhelmed–at least I am–by not by the task of making sense of so much new content, but also the task of generating original content with any meaning or value to distinguish it from everything else.  Our posts, to paraphrase Roy Batty, are “like tears in rain.”

Merlin Mann, of 43 Folders, captures this sentiment wonderfully with his post/essay Better:

What worries me are the consequences of a diet comprised mostly of fake-connectedness, makebelieve insight, and unedited first drafts of everything. I think it’s making us small. I know that whenever I become aware of it, I realize how small it can make me. So, I’ve come to despise it.

With this diet metaphor in mind, I want to, if you like, start eating better. But, I also want to start growing a tastier tomato — regardless of how easy it is to pick, package, ship, or vend. The tomato is the story, my friend.

This doesn’t mean I’ll be liveblogging a lot of ham-fisted attempts to turn “everything” off. But it does mean making mindful decisions about the quality of any input that I check repeatedly — as well as any “stuff” I produce. Everything. From news sources to entertainment programming, and from ephemeral web content down to each email message I decide to respond to. The shit has to go, inclusive.

Personally, I have no idea how to cope with the downpour of information and insights and I suspect few others do either.  Which is why I really appreciated Mann’s recognition that, while there is no standard response, we each in our own way need to learn how to “start eating better” and, equally, fighting the urge for putting out faster and cheaper insights when the nutritional value all comes from the better.

         

2 thoughts on “Faster, Better, Cheaper… choose better

  1. Thanks for these reflections. Another take I liked was a piece in the Boston Globe a year ago about “microboredom” (http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/03/09/the_joy_of_boredom/?page=full) — to use your metaphor, the new market slice targetted to get us to eat all the available junk; I blogged about it here: http://dadtoday.blogspot.com/2008/04/finding-me-in-microboredom.html
    Have also found that, in era of high volume, low value words words words (“tears in the rain”), there is something powerful in the writing and reading and sending and receiving of old fashioned by hand on paper letters (http://dadtoday.blogspot.com/2007/10/writing-letters-again.html)

  2. As far as information overload goes, what we all want is to get the better content, without needing to see the worse stuff. It sounds like you’re suggesting that authors just write better. Would the “faster” approach also work for readers to filter the information?

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