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.