Sunday, October 29, 2006

Information Overload

September and October are my busy months at work, so I try schedule my vacation for the end of October or beginning of November, because by that time I really need a break, and my birthday’s at the beginning of November, and a long time ago someone told me I shouldn’t have to work on my birthday, and I decided they were right!

People have been asking me what I’m going to do on my vacation. Where am I going to go? Being the financially-challenged person that I am, and the homebody that I am, a big trip is out of the question. Then I realized: I’m going to take a trip into space – CYBER SPACE!!

I have been overwhelmed at the information overload that is available on the Internet. If you read or watch the news at all, you’ve probably come across the story about how the amount of information we are exposed to is growing exponentially, and growing at such a pace that we are unable to keep up with it. I first heard this at a conference over 15 years ago, when we had only one computer for our whole staff, and e-mail only, no web pages. The thought stuck with me. Look how far we have come…

This is so evident to me when I start looking for knitting information on the web. Only a few short years ago, there was ONE premier knitting webpage, “Woolworks”, that gathered knitting information into one accessible location. Now, you Google “Knitting” and a seemingly endless amount of sites appear. Not only that, but when you look at these sites, and start jumping from link to link to link, it is very easy to get lost down the cyber rabbit hole! And you can start again, and go a completely different direction. And over and over again. That’s just regular knitting sites. It’s even worse with blogs. I get so carried away clicking on buttons on blogs, and learning about all sorts of new knitting-related blogs, and groups, and exchanges. Webrings for knitters of different knitting specialties, different religions, different sexual orientations, different nationalities, different familial makeups, all manner of focus groups! I myself belong to the cat knitters webring, the fluffy knitters webring, and could probably join a few more, once I found them. Then there are the exchanges. You can join a secret pal exchange, a tote exchange, a pattern exchange, a sock knitters exchange, a knitters’ tea lovers exchange, and on and on.

Then there are the podcasts! Only a short year or so ago, I think there were two knitting podcasts: Cast-On, and KnitCast. Just recently I found a list of knitting podcasts on a blog, and I think there were close to two dozen! A few weekends ago, I downloaded all the past episodes of Cast-On and KnitCast, and have been slowly catching up with what I’ve been missing.

The same goes for the Internet knitting magazines. There used to be just one: KnitNet. Now, we have Knitty, MagKnits, and more. And as before, these are full of knitting information, knitting patterns, and links, links links!

Now, I don’t plan to spend my entire vacation staring at my laptop. I do intend to get some work done, to get more organized, to get outdoors and get some exercise, and to relax with some huge chunks of knitting time. But I do want to spend some time exploring this wonderful resource, and, like Alice in Wonderland, get lost down the rabbit hole. Now instead of a bottle that says "Drink Me", Alice would have a button that says "Click Me"!