The life of a social infovore

Are you an infovore? I love this term discussed by Mitch Joel at Six Pixels of Separation, one of my favourite digital marketing blogs. Very often when I read his posts I’m struck by how relevant his content is to both the communications professional and the individual. His discussions are thoughtful, practical and useful.

And yes I am an infovore.

But I’ll take that a step further and describe myself not as any ‘ol infovore, but a social infovore. I’m engaged, and active in various forms of social and online media. Not a day goes by when I don’t tweet, post and comment on Facebook, link up on Linked In, check in via Goodreads, do a little pinning, read and share items of note from various online media, and then write on my blog or comments on others.

I have arguably never been so in touch with the world.Each offers some measure of fun, but even more they allow me to gather and share quality information. All of these tools fuel my desire to learn and grow, to connect with others, and to share my own life experiences. Some may criticize, but I maintain that they really do enrich my life.

In his post Joel argues:

Whether it’s through the Web, mobile or a touch device, the freshest and newest thinking is closer than a click away and whatever piece of content you’re consuming is now three-dimensional. It’s not flat. It’s not just stuck to a page. This information links out to other pieces of media (or is surrounded by supporting links). It has multimedia embedded within it – images, audio and video – and you can grab it from nearly any connected device.

And because of this, it’s exciting, dynamic and highly engaging. But what appeals to me most about digital media is that it’s systematic and available where I am. It’s mobile. I’m mobile (hello, long commutes). It provides an on-going record that appeals to my organized sensibilities.

So we get along great. But it’s a tenuous relationship, one that requires constant vigilance and attention to balance. There is A LOT of information out there, it’s easy to get sucked in and lose sight of the perspective that digital media should balance real life, and be a complement to, rather than a replacement for, living in the moment.

Joel himself says:

As an Infovore, I’ve become quite comfortable with a diet that consists of both grazing and then taking the time to really enjoy a full and hearty meal (I tried to read one book every week). The mightiest of Infovore’s embrace the “mark all as read” button and take refuge in knowing that it’s not about consuming everything.

I’ve embraced that button more often recently, cherry picking only the things that grab my attention and keep me motivated in the various different roles I play in life, making a little time for all of them. There is so much fantastic stuff to read, to learn, to explore, but it’s impossible to keep up.

In the end, that’s the beauty of digital media. It’s all about choice.

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9 thoughts on “The life of a social infovore

  1. Sarah says:

    You said this brilliantly by dear. I whole-heartedly agree!

  2. Kim Reynolds says:

    Have you read Hamlet’s Blackberry? I think you would enjoy it.

  3. I love this term! I’m not sure that I’m a total social infovore (still not on Facebook!), but I see the benefits of being one.

    I also appreciate your conclusions about choice. I posted today about whether or not to share my birth story on my blog and one reader reminded me that social media is a choice enterprise: I can choose to write or not and my readers can choose to read or not. Very empowering.

    • Christine says:

      I think we were, quite literally, reading each other’s posts at the same time. That MUST say something about being an infovore. But even if it doesn’t, it certainly reminds me how wonderful this place is.

  4. Stacia says:

    Mark all as read: I’d be a lot less sane without that option. Infovores of the world unite! =>

  5. Delicious little term! And I’m with you that cherry picking becomes increasingly important with everything we have to balance and so much potential information to choose from, as we navigate the noise.

    Still, from time to time it’s great to throw caution to the wind and wander down an unanticipated digital path. Sometimes, there’s annoyance. Others? Treasure.

  6. I LOVE the term infovore. I’ve been looking for a way to describe the way I CONSUME information (particularly online) everyday.

    I joke with my husband about people who leave “TLDR” as comments to online content (Too Long, Didn’t Read) and how silly that is. I never considered the “cherry picking” approach that might just be the more appropriate counterpoint to TLDR. By just reading what piques my interest (instead of feverishly skimming to read EVERYTHING), I get to read more of what I care about.

    Great post!

  7. harrietglynn says:

    Yes, I often feel like I have defend my social media, er ehem, interest.

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