Signal to noise

In radio operator lingo, you look for a strong signal to noise ratio. That’s the amount of good stuff (the message) that comes through the static (the noise.) You can use your squelch button to turn down the static, but if there isn’t enough signal, you don’t hear anything at all.

For a decade, the web kept delivering an ever better signal to noise ratio to me. I was able to hear more things, more clearly, in less time. Websites and email and my RSS reader were bringing me signals from everywhere, and processing them (and creating, I hope, new signal) was a joy.

Lately, I’m feeling noise creep.

Lately, the noise seems to be increasing and the signal is fading in comparison. Too much spam, too many posts, too little insight leaking through. I don’t use Twitter, but I know a lot of Twitter users are feeling this. So are folks who go to too many conferences. And don’t get me started on victims of Blackberry cc: disease.

I wish I could tell you the easy answer. I can’t. I just know that the faltering signal is a problem.