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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Filtering, Crowdsourcing and Information Overload

Great post by Tim Kastelle - Filtering, Crowdsourcing and Innovation.  He’s talking primarily about Innovation pipelines based on crowdsourcing.  His diagram:


Show a fairly common model for how things can be filtered.  This is similar to the model that we used on Project Greenlight – the scriptwriting and director contest by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.  Anyone (hopefully everyone) could submit their script / movie.  From there, we had smaller and smaller batches of people reviewing until it got down to the core team looking at the top few submissions. 

This caught my eye because it’s a bit different than the model we are using on Browse My Stuff that powers sites like eLearning Learning.  In Curator Editor Research Opportunities on eLearning Learning, I described the flow that it uses:


In this case, the input is curated content although it can come from virtually anywhere.  It then relies on social signals from everyone to filter it down.

I’m not claiming that one is preferred.  And I think that you can argue that Digg uses a slightly different model.

The other part of this thought process is that the feedback on my Top 10 eLearning Predictions for 2010 was that I should have Information Overload and Information Filtering as my user chosen prediction number 10.  I tend to agree with that.  But there’s a challenge to it.  And that challenge is somewhat hinted at in this month’s big question: Instruction in a Information Snacking Culture?

  • Are the training solutions being produced part of the problem of information overload?
  • How do we shift to a position where we are helping to filter information and reduce overload rather than possibly contribute?

Certainly, I’m paying attention to this and I’m going to go through Tim’s post – Personal Aggregate, Filter and Connect Strategies to see how it might impact my Tool Set 2009 tools and methods, especially Information Radar, Networks and Learning Communities).

Good stuff Tim!


crazy in freedom said...

Useful ideas^^

Tony Pinto said...

Great article, Tony. I think a similar process exists on a lot of niche social networking sites as well.

Take for example. Anyone can post their recipes, videos, photos, etc. There's a small group of "editors" who review everything as it is posted, and can promote or remove it depending on the quality and fit with the site's overall cooking vibe.

Ultimately, the editor in chief decides what stays and what goes, but it's a pretty open process. Based on where traffic originates (Google searches, Tweets, Facebook walls, etc.), the content is further filtered (aka "featured") and consumed more readily by casual visitors.

Tony Karrer said...

Great point Tony. You can look at the aggregation, crowdsourcing and filtering at multiple levels. And you make choices about each.

Tim Kastelle said...

Thanks very much for discussing my blog post Tony! I'm glad that you found it useful.

I'm really interested to see the model for your current project - that is much more the way that we tend to picture 'crowdsourcing', and of course, your example of Digg is too. My suspicion is that the different models will each have situations in which they are more effective, and one of the things that we need to do is figure out the circumstances and objectives that determine that.

In any case, it's an interesting area!

V Yonkers said...

I think one of the results of information overload is Just in Time learning. I observed some of this filtering you spoke of in my classes last week (Mostly seniors that will be entering the workforce in the next year).

Tony Karrer said...

Tim - interesting to look at your comment and Tony P's comment. Both suggest there are likely a few different filtering mechanisms that you can define into a flow/pipeline. And, yes, each one will be applicable and have different impact in different situations. Definitely something I'll be thinking about.

BTW - I assume you saw Browse My Stuff and some of the sample sites such as eLearning Learning as examples of the model?

Virginia - great point that part of the result is that we have to shift into thinking about Just in Time. However, there's a bit of a difference here in that we are also talking about a kind of awareness flow. Or here's a continuous flow of the good stuff. So, it still may not be "just in time." Not sure.

BTW - your link didn't seem to work.

V Yonkers said...

Sorry about the link; I'm not sure what happened, but it was a post I wrote yesterday.

Just an update, last night there was a great report on Front Line (PBS) on the "digital nation" which addressed some of the things you have in your post and some of the areas you're still not sure about.

The most interesting section was on information overload and the ability for multi-taskers to focus. They also had an interesting section on gamers and the problem that Korea has with gaming addicts.

Anonymous said...

keep up the good work - always engaging.

For me this aggregate/ filter/ connect is successful, and akin to the American Idol (US audiences) / X-factor (UK audiences) approach.

It's definitely a model that's based on profitting (here financial, but no reason it couldn't be educational) from information - namely the viewers' opinions:

• Everyone can be part of the 'content' (the audition shows)
• People are then filtered down by different layers, until finall eeting the 'judges'
• In this model we get to confirm that the editors (Judges) mak a good call with decisions on the 'content' (contestants) - most of the time, that is
• we get to see the final content (the live shows)
• we filter it/ refine it to the smallest possible (one winner!)

What's even MORE interesting about this model is that it actually BENEFITS from the 'outliers' as they're seen as quirky and worth watching as a 'non example', rather than simply being ironed out based on the 'smart crowd' approach.

buncut said...

Very true, crowdsourcing's power relies on management and benefit for the crowd. Anybody interested in crowdsourcing should check out and join the debate

Anonymous said...

The ideas are quite good!