I have read a lot lately about people complaining that there is too much “noise” on the internet and in social media in general. My reaction? Thats the point!
If someone walks into a room and there is total silence, there is a sense of loneliness, and one will get bored very quickly. I will liken that to what it is like to not have a computer at this point in time. Now you leave your dark, silent room and start talking to one, and only one, person. This was step two: buying your first computer. You can only talk to that one person about so many things, and then you’re back to silence. Now you’ve had enough silence. You want to know what other people are talking about. You want to interact with many people, not just one or two. You’ve moved on to the Internet, and there’s no silence to be found.
Isn’t that how we got to the point that we’re at? The internet (social media especially) was formed for the sake of sharing: information, stories, movies, pictures, music, advice … anything you can think of. Social networks take advantage of niches in this sharing environment, but none of them take away from the noise. They all add to it.
A lot of people have become sick of this noise and are trying to filter a lot of it out. Social aggregators like FriendFeed don’t filter, though, they just take ALL the noise and put it into one place. I like to think of it as turning up the volume (and yes, 11 really IS louder than 10!). Just thinking about all the noise that I am going to hear tonight, tomorrow and the next day gets me excited because I think of all the new things I will learn. It’s also how I get ideas for most of my posts. There are exciting news stories from Bloglines, though-provoking snippets from @ChrisBrogan on Twitter, and news from friends on Facebook. If you really want to hear from the master of noise, check out this post on productivity from Robert Scoble.
So when you’re thinking to yourself that there is too much noise on the Internet, think about why you came here in the first place. I imagine it certainly wasn’t to play by yourself in a quiet room. Remember, don’t be afraid to turn up the volume once in a while … you never know what you might learn.