Below are the immortal lines from a Simon and Garfunkel song, “The Dangling Conversation“. It’s a great song and I’ve embedded a YouTube video at the bottom of the article in case you haven’t heard it or you just feel like listening to it!
And you read your Emily Dickinson
And I my Robert Frost
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what we’ve lost…
For some reason these lyrics are scorched on my memory. They are about hard copy bookmarks used to note pages in hard copy books. How true is it that we never get back to the books we’re reading after noting some page with a bookmark. And that is a great measure of the potential knowledge or information we lost (did not consume).
Recently I’ve been thinking this rings equally true for digital (social) bookmarks, as well as for tweets. Especially auto-tweets. I consume a lot of information daily and I use Instapaper to save great articles I’ve read. But I also use it for interesting articles I plan to read later, many of which I never get to.
The same goes for my content curation practices. I follow a lot of blogs and I tweet the best articles I come across. But there are also some select blogs that I auto-tweet using Twitterfeed since they consistently produce great content. Now, I do read a lot of the articles I tweet, but honestly I don’t get to each and everyone of them. In today’s attention economy unfortunately we only get to what’s at the top of the fold.
Every single day I consume some great content but I also miss some. I’m curious if there is some measure of how many articles bookmarked using Stumbleupon, Digg, Diigo and other bookmarking tools never get read and how many articles in tweets and retweets never get clicked because “re-sharing” is more convenient than reading.
In a real-time marketing world of now do digital bookmarks and tweets measure what we’ve collectively lost as digital citizens or does the crowd simply eliminate the digital crap? What do you think? Please share you thoughts!
Photo credit: secretlondon123