Along with the periodic reflection on nodes in my social networks, I like to reflect on what catches my interest in the infosphere and why. In the past about once a month I would document a “day in the life” of Skip by looking at the meetings, types of email, types of projects, and types of information interactions I encountered in the course of a day.
With the current focus on writing daily blog entries and discovering a rich vein of Twitter knowledge connectors thanks to Cathy Davidson, my early morning infovore activities are changing dramatically. For the past 40 years, every day would start with a cup of coffee and the daily newspaper. I’d take a quick glance at the front page and then dive into the Sports and Business sections. My email inbox would have to wait until I got through a look into the wider world.
However, with the acquisition of the iPad (and this year the iPad 2), my morning routine has shifted. Without getting out of bed and without bothering my wife by turning on a bedside lamp, I reach over to the bedside table and grab my iPad. First I check my email and then I go to the USA Today app to see what is happening in the wider world. Then I go to Twitter to see what interesting knowledge was pointed to last night and then I head to FlipBoard to do a quick cycle through Facebook, and the other curated feeds (The New Yorker, Harvard Business Review, inarratives, Fast Company, Future Lab, Mindshift, Datavis, and Gamification).
This firehose of information shows up in professionally formatted color glossy mode on my iPad. It’s just there – 24/7. I’ve gone from couch potato to bed head. There is so much here that I have to limit my semi-random information foraging to an hour (or stated another way until my craving for a cup of Nespresso coffee cuts in).
While I am sure there is a better way to capture those things that interest me or that I want to mark for future reference, I just email the link to myself. Then after my coffee I semi-curate the references into my days To Do List.
The references to follow from this morning’s information foraging are:
- Cathy Davidson Tweet – Can we really learn online? In this tweet Cathy points to a NY Times response to Digital Learning Enterprises. Interest: For our Innovation Forum activities at UW Bothell this is one of the topics we are exploring. Action: Send to UWB core team.
- Next navigation is to track from Cathy’s tweet to the original New York Times article on “MIT’s new learning platform points to future of higher ed” referenced by Cathy Davidson. Interest: For our Innovation Forum activities at UW Bothell this is one of the topics we are exploring. Action: Send to UWB core team.
- Somehow I find my way to the Brain Pickings blog entry on Five Manifestos for a Creative Life by Kirsten Butler which looks quite interesting. Interest: I am always looking for fodder to include in my Human Centered Design and Engineering course at UW. I particularly liked the “Cult of Done Manifesto” by Bre Pettis. Action: Include the cult of done manifesto in the blog entry and start following Kirsten Butler.
- The poster from Holstee which became their manifesto also attracted my attention. Interest: I am always looking for fodder to include in my Human Centered Design and Engineering course at UW. Action: Include the cult of done manifesto in the blog entry and start following Holstee.
- Jumping over to Twitter I looked up Kirsten Butler’s tweets and came across one that pointed to her most popular blog post which was about the sketchbook of Susan Kare – “The Artist Who Gave Computing a Human Face.” Interest: I am always looking for fodder to include in my Human Centered Design and Engineering course at UW. Action: Include the “The Artist Who Gave Computing a Human Face” in the blog entry and start following PLOS Blogs.
- Shift over to FlipBoard and the Mindshift and Future Lab streams. Read several articles – “Three Trends that Define the Future of Teaching and Learning“, “12 ways to be more search savvy,” “4 Lessons the Class room can learn from the design studio,” and “the 10 key skills for the future of work“. Interest: For our Innovation Forum activities at UW Bothell these are topics we are exploring. Action: Send to UWB core team.
- Shift over to the New Yorker and look at the Cartoons from the latest issue where I chuckle at trying to control the news cycle.
- Shift over to FutureLab pointers where I encounter Twine – a puck filled with sensors that can detect anything from moisture to magnetism and then Tweet about it. Interest: I have absolutely no idea what to do with this but it is fascinating and something that was funded by Kickstarter.
- Continuing in FutureLab to look at the “3 pillars of content curation.” Interest: I am fascinated with how the word “curate” has popped up all over the web in the last year. It is a word I had not hear since college and all of a sudden anyone who drops a link into a blog is a curator.
- Continuing in FutureLab I come across “hacking your way to innovation.” Interest: For both my HCDE class and my MBA class I am always looking for interesting approaches to innovation.
- Bounce back to the Datavis channel in Flipboard to look at Citeology. Also look at “The Best Data Visualization Projects of 2011“, “Data-Driven Documents for visualization in the browser,” “Best and Most Memorable Projects of 2011,” and “20 Great Visualizations of 2011.” Interest: For my content with context software development innovation I am always looking for new ways of showing citation networks. Forward and backward citation references are also an interesting aspect of what is needed for patent visual analytics.
- Slowing down as I gather the energy to get some Nespresso, I trip once again over xkcd‘s amazingly detailed and intricate visualization of money. I have no idea how he has the focus to develop these elaborate diagrams.
- With one last check of email before starting my day I come across an interesting blog post from one of my favorite professors Ed Lazowska at UW on “Technology that Finally Helps Learning.” His hope for the future lies in a project Foldit led by Zoran Popovic which used game mechanics to figure out how proteins are folded.
With so much luck finding great articles for my many areas of interest, I decide to try once again to see if I can get my blog to connect with Flipboard so that I can view the blog in the wonderful formatting of Flipboard. Somehow today I achieve success.
My start of day routine information seeking took 1 hour of real time. This reflections blog post and the associated actions took four hours to accomplish. Once again Gregory Bateson‘s observations in Steps to an Ecology of Mind triumph:
“Of course, the whole of the mind could not be reported in a part of the mind. This follows logically from the relationship between part and whole. The television screen does not give you total coverage or report of the events which occur in the whole televisions process; and this not merely because the viewers would not be interested in such a report, but because to report on any extra part of the total process would require extra circuitry. But to report on the events in this extra circuitry would require a still further addition of more circuitry, and so on. Each additional step toward increased consciousness will take the system farther from total consciousness. To add a report on events in a given part of the machine will actually decrease the percentage of total events reported.” P.432
Yet, what I went through in an hour this morning while in bed with my iPad 2 and the associated apps would have taken well over eight hours even four years ago. Even then, I would have to be sitting at my desktop to try and locate all of this information. However, it still isn’t easy enough to capture the context of each of the things I found interesting and then make those “connections” actionable – both in the immediate sense and in the longer term pattern making sense. There is an app here somewhere.