Too Much.

Such is how I feel about “it” on most days.  Too much stuff, too much information, too much of what I don’t want.  All of which chokes out getting to see, experience, and do what I want or need.

Case in point; my SBU work e-mail.  My inbox is a self-admitted disaster compared to just about anyone else, really.  I don’t delete than many messages due to my pack rat mentality.  I’ve gotten away from using much in the way of folders, as stuff sent their automatically is out of sight and out of mind, and who has the time to move it manually?  I still color-code stuff, and try to do weekly reviews to make sure I did not forget something.  Having grown visually numb to the rainbow, making sure to do that review can be a challenge.

While it would be nice to blame someone or something else for this mess, it is all on me.  I’ve signed up for those e-mail lists years ago (pre RSS feeds, the good old 1990s!), so every day there is news and information sitting there, usually unread at the end of that same day.  Which causes clutter around the people trying to make Contact with me for (and with) help, advice, and information.  What did I choose for the start of a solution to this mess?


This company and it’s services have been the answer for many areas for some time now, but in this case, I started working back through those e-mails from news services, and started un-subscribing when I confirmed there were RSS feeds I could use instead.  Those RSS are now in one of my (too many? topic for another post later?) Google accounts I have, particularly in the Reader service.  Now, my daily work process will involve not only checking GroupWise for Contacts made from people directly, but also a jog through the latest news from sources that keep me informed on things involving technology and education.

I can claim the same-day rewards for my efforts involved thanks from someone on Twitter for providing inspiration, along with taking my inbox back from the redline of 97% capacity, to the greener area of 75%.  More work will need to be done, but it’s a first step, something required for any journey to occur.

Now, back to Google and Contacts so I can wrangle this post into a concluding thought.  I’ve liked Google from the start, got into Gmail as soon as I could (and as alluded to above, more accounts than I care to admit or count), and pretty much have done that with all other services; Docs, Voice, Wave, Buzz.  How far have I bowed to my Google Overlords, you might ask? I am now using Docs instead of the Live Mesh/One Note monstrosity I (surprisingly?) got to work. Voice over the dumpy little freeware voice mail number I used for CPU101 students to contact me with in case of technical problems.  Wave is used for notes taken before/during meetings, or to keep track of topics and details for major efforts, which may or may not be shared with other users.  The Contacts area of Wave is what I consider to be a major weakness, as there is no way to organize what can quickly get to be a massive number of folks you might want to Wave with.

Personal and work-related content, all waiting for me in Google’s corner of the cloud.

What makes all of this stuff in the cloud easy or hard to share when called for?  Contacts.  From what I’ve experienced and read of the reactions of others to the release and tweaks of Google Buzz, Contacts seems to be a core concern, problem, and reason.  By reason, I am referring to the human being’s need for having Contact.  Why else do we get into all of this social media stuff?  Sure, there is face to face dealings with folks for all of us on a daily basis.  But with all of the tools provided by the Intertubes (i.e. Internet) we can find like-minded people, doing similar work as ourselves, sharing in similar problems, and (here’s the cool part) willing to cooperate by interacting with Contacts they know.

So, a very precious resource we are all generating, having realized it or not, are Contacts.  There are places of overlap and gaps for each of us.  In some cases, Contacts we have over *here* we may not want to know about Contacts we have over *there* (a la Tiger Woods?).  Which seems to be some of the “what if” concerns folks had in reaction to Buzz.

Contacts are also at the heart of an education tool, the LMS (Learning Management System).  A teacher and the students get their web-based area to have a class for a set amount of time.  Need to contact one or all of the students as the instructor?  Just use the LMS and the communication tools available within.  Ideally the university is doing the record keeping for the Contact sets needed each semester, otherwise the teachers and students have to find each other.  From my perspective and experience, that is hurdle for Google service like Docs & Wave to get over if they are going to take over for the duties of today’s LMSes.

As it happens, I’ve heard of such possibilities via one of my #teampie Contacts, Stevie Rocco.  Judging from what she shared using Twitter while attending a demonstration, this could be awesome.  One of many examples where efforts I’ve made over time to make Contacts has resulted in hearing about possibilities and ideas.  Hence, I’m going to keep fine-tuning my sources of information and Contacts, to help others as I wish to be helped.


~ by Neal Cross on February 24, 2010.

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