I was just thinking my own version of this (via @librarienne RT) the other day, and I agree: having an established, well-vetted, but also organically evolving information filter system is important today.

In that spirit, here’s mine (less the nice graphic):

  • First line: RSS (via Google Reader) and Twitter (my Twitter feed is largely populated by professional connections, people I’ve met or run across who have similar professional interests to mine)
  • From there: Mark as Read (Jacobs’ trash can) or Diigo (for articles I read on my laptop and want to save and/or links that are mainly flash or video) or Instapaper (for more heavily text-based links that I need some quiet time to look over)
  • For Archiving/Saving: Both Diigo and Google Reader are searchable, and Diigo has a super-cool plugin (for me it’s in Chrome) that adds Diigo results to the top of any google.com search.  I’ve also just started using Evernote for notes in meetings/conferences.
  • For Sharing: I really like the idea of having a separate public feed (Jacob’s Tumblog) from which I can microcast to friends/followers, but I tend to share in a more targeted fashion via direct email or occasionally a tweet I’m pretty sure certain followers will find interesting.
  • For Writing: I have been hanging in (poorly) on WordPress like most people.  I resolved to use this sabbatical as an opportunity to share more about what I’m working on here, but it’s still hard to do.  (Maybe this and my Twitter habits are consequences of my introversion; who knows.)

I also agree with Jacobs that part of literacy/education today ought to be consideration of and practice with different options for filtering information.  It will help graduates to stay connected to a wider range of information sources and manage those connections more actively.

Taking that idea one step further, we can imagine what that education would look like.  I would start with First-years in our Freshmen seminars, asking them to seek out and begin following ten relevant feeds and ten individuals who work in or write about the seminar topic on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Google+.  I’d require them to write regularly, say weekly, on a personal blog, about something of interest to them from among those 10-20 feeds.  And I’d ask them to comment, via Twitter, Google+, or on each others’ posts about their classmates’ writing. (OK, this last one probably doesn’t teach information filtering as much as it encourages a sense of participation in an intellectual community, but it would be an important step in an iterative and experiential process I generally invite students to participate in).  Finally, each week, one or two students could be given the opportunity to discuss the flow of a single idea or meme through their personal system and its dissemination through the class network.

Would this sequence of events in a class setting encourage development of good filtering habits over time?  How should we continue it beyond the first year?  Could it be effectively appropriated earlier, say in high school or even middle school, and if so, how would that affect students entering college and the general citizenry?  

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