There are a few tools that are crucial to the working of the information addict.
In order to understand the information addict you first need to realise that information research and pursuit isn’t some kind of aimless pastime, it’s a very serious business. There is a purpose to all of this activity and that is to find really useful information and in so doing to gain insights and knowledge that others probably haven’t seen. But the real join is in the hunt.
You might think that Google was the main tool for the information addict, but it isn’t one of the primary tools. it’s a good secondary tool for finding further information on a given topic. But it’s not a primary tool because it required a question and this information addict doesn’t normally know what the question is before he gets started. The really useful tools are the ones that provoke a question that might lead to a new discovery.
The really useful tools are those tools that provide information without being asked a question, while still prompting a question.
For me these tools fall into two discrete areas:
There are so many statistics around that there is always something new to be gained from them. The statistics on this blog are a case-in-point. These statistics serve two purposes. They allow me to gain insights that I know are unique to me; there’s only me with access to them. These statistics also allow me to branch out into all sorts of other discoveries. “Why is that blog popular?”, “Why do I get visitors from…"?”. I have access to all sorts of statistics, and they provide all manner of stimulus.
Feeds are different. Feeds provide a constant stream of provocation; they are streams of information. Blogs, facebook, linkedin, twitter all provide a constant flow of things that may, or may not, be interesting. The “may not” is important, if the information was always 100% relevant there wouldn’t be any joy in the hunt. Addiction always has some element of “pursuit” to it, even if the result, once caught, isn’t worth bothering with.
Google, and other search methods support these two information provoking methods by allowing a chase to continue. It often doesn’t even matter where the chase is taking you, it’s the chase that is the important and the addictive part.