Moore’s Law vs. Tools for Managing Information Overload

by Brett Borders on January 25, 2009

One of the most challenging things about social media is the sheer speed of it. New applications, services, platforms, messaging channels and technologies pop up every month – presenting social media professionals with a steep, never-ending learning curve “treadmill.”

In 1965, Intel engineer Gordon Moore observed a technological expansion trend where the number of transistors on a computer chip seemed to double every two years. His prophecy, known as “Moore’s Law,” has proven true to this day. Technologists and futurists have observed that Moore’s Law also applies to software – and in particular, I’m noticing how much it applies to social media.

The volume of social media applications and communications increases with lightning speed. image: Fantom Designs

The more deeply you get involved in the social web… the faster the volume of personal messages, signals, interactions and relationships — which demand your attention and response — seems to multiply:

Stories to Digg. Tweets to rely to. E-mail. Blog posts to write. IMs. Comments to leave. Invitations to connect on LinkedIn. High school friends’ requests on Facebook. Meetup RSVPs. Ning groups. BrightKite check-ins.

The saving grace for the social media professional is that while the volume of signals increases quickly, the number of innovative “power tools” for managing and aggregating social media communications increases, also. New social software tools like FriendFeed, Ping.FM, Tweetdeck, Yahoo Pipes, and Whizz RSS make communications and consolidation easier – although some argue they can be another distraction.

It all balances out. Social media “power tools” help us cope. image: Oddsock

Successful social media professionals must have the innate technological savvy and genuine curiosity to discover, learn and use the very best tools and plug-ins efficiently… or else they risk getting burned out, buried in an avalanche of noise, or becoming professionally obsolete in less than a year’s time.


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  • Andrea Hill

    This overload of information is precisely the reason why I try to avoid talking about specific tools or sites when I introduce people to the idea of social media. How many of these services will be rendered obsolete in a number of weeks, months… days?

    While I agree with your main point (that we need to be technologically savvy to be able to filter the important from the less-so), I think that we also need to be careful not to get too caught up in the echo chamber.

    I think many of us suffer from early adopter cynicism. I know I’m a web cynic – I’d just as soon never build another website again, I’m tired of them. But the majority of online users are just becoming comfortable with the medium. It seems strange to me how few people know what ‘RSS’ stands for, when really it is the foundation of probably 96% of all online services out there these days.

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