The Infovore

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Human beings have an unquenchable thirst for information… not just knowledge.

Why are we like this? It was my understanding that David Weinberger (The Cluetrain Manifesto, Small Pieces Loosely Joined and Everything Is Miscellaneous) was working on this concept for his next business book. When he first introduced the notion to me (during this Podcast episode: SPOS #179 – The Cluetrain Manifesto At 10 Years+ With David Weinberger), it was a kernel of an idea that never quite left my brain. Whenever I add another RSS feed to Google Reader or follow someone interesting on Twitter, I stop to realize that it’s another bite in my voracious appetite for more and more information.

I’m an Infovore.

I laughed out loud when I heard Clay Shirky (Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus) describe himself as an Infovore during a conversation with Jay Rosen (PressThink) – you can watch the full video interview here: The Newest Thinking On New Media. The truth is, there is no excuse not to self-educate at this point in history. Whether it’s through the Web, mobile or a touch device, the freshest and newest thinking is closer than a click away and whatever piece of content you’re consuming is now three-dimensional. It’s not flat. It’s not just stuck to a page. This information links out to other pieces of media (or is surrounded by supporting links). It has multimedia embedded within it – images, audio and video – and you can grab it from nearly any connected device.

There’s a reason why passive media seems even more boring.

Personally, I have a hard time watching a dance competition on TV knowing full-well that iTunes U is stuffed to the digital rafters with audio and video Podcasts from some of the leading universities and given by the best professors… and that’s just one, small channel. The other side of the challenge is that there is simply not enough time to follow, consume and deeply ingest everything. You will never be able to read every e-newsletter, Blog post, tweet or listen/watch every Podcast or interesting YouTube video. As an Infovore, I’ve become quite comfortable with a diet that consists of both grazing and then taking the time to really enjoy a full and hearty meal (I tried to read one book every week). The mightiest of Infovore’s embrace the "mark all as read" button and take refuge in knowing that it’s not about consuming everything.

The other side of the Infovore. 

What makes being an Infovore ever-more exciting is not just the many new, free and easy to access pieces of content, but it’s the sharing of this content. Whether it’s via Twitter or Facebook or working through ideas in a Blog post, being an Infovore in 2011 is as much about creating unique content as it is about consuming and sharing it. Many people are overwhelmed by all of this new and fast-paced access to information. I’m not. I’m loving it. I don’t stress out about not consuming everything, I’m just happy to be alive during this amazing revolution of information.

I hope you are too.


  1. While this is my first exposure to the term, I think about my seemingly insatiable need for data and info every time I add (yet another) interesting RSS feed into my Reader. I convince myself that it’s my boredom of the norm which makes me so happy at a reader full of *options* but deep down I know it all stems from the love of being in the know, being tapped into the latest and greatest.
    I especially appreciate how you proved your own Infovore tendencies by embedding a dozen links into the first few sentences of your post. Subliminal self-affirmation, n’est-ce pas?
    As always, thanks for sharing.

  2. The more I learn, the more I want to know… thank you for the reminder that we don’t need to try to know everything all the time.
    When I first went back to school for a technology degree it was so overwhelming to have so many sources of information. Over the past year I’ve learned how to control the flow and am ever improving my ability to contribute and share thanks to people like you.
    Thank you again for an excellent message.

  3. I have 389 subscriptions. Beat that.
    Will you ever upload a copy of your OPML from your RSS reader? Or would that be giving away too much insider info? I’d definitely be interested to see what someone such as yourself is subscribing to.

  4. Hello, my name is Kyle, and I’m an Infovore.
    I’m rabid enough that I’ve even tried to teach others my way by constantly pitching Google Reader to everyone I work with. I’ve even made a training document. πŸ˜€

  5. I especially appreciate Google Reader. They are by far the best in helping you manage your daily info diet from bloggers. I just saw that they now have PostRank plugins for Chrome and Safari… pretty cool stuff.
    Here’s the link if you’re interested:

    I love new words!
    I’m one!
    And I am always surprised to realize that we are only a few. Although growing rapidly.
    I try to contaminate my colleagues at gatherings , on my facebook page etc but it looks like my colleagues and clients are rather INFOFUGAL , they almost seem to shy away from information.
    Happy birthday fellow infovore!

  7. Hi Kneale…. we’re here for you Kneale…. way to go on that first step Kneale… πŸ™‚
    I had a long conversation with someone last night about not understanding people who aren’t even a little bit infovorish. Except we didn’t have the word last night.

  8. Thank you. I will now be using this term religiously.
    Like you I’m not overwhelmed at all by all of these amazing developments in information and content sharing and, with the help of your own incredible book, blogs and podcasts, have begun to build a comprehensive weekly collection of the great info I’ve come across using Storify.
    It seems to me that many people, particularly small business owners, don’t have the time to explore every link that streams across their feeds and that a great way to help them out and build connections is to collect useful posts from throughout the workweek and bundle it together for them to view in one place. I’m calling it The Sunday Evening Post and hope to help share your passionate insights with a wider audience in the process.

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