Patrick Lambe suggests that we face a war between awareness and memory: “there is evidence that faster, easier, access to current awareness broadens our absorption of the present and thins out our access to the past. Simply put, too much of now means less and less memory”.
I’m not very active on my Twitter account (maybe a few posts a day with many skipped days in between). I have found, though, that Twitter is far more about relationships than about content. Twitter is about conversations that vaporize rather quickly. When I access Twitter, I’m not too concerned about conversations that went on before (“before” defined as anything more than 5 minutes ago). I jump in to catch a bit of a stream, share a thought/link. A relationship does exist between time on Twitter and how productive I feel: more time, less productive. Twitter can help a person become aware of new technologies and information, but for depth of learning (reflection, thinking, writing – i.e. getting past “what it is” and moving to “what it means”) Twitter is limited.
In terms of searching content, I have noticed a change in my habits. Since Google Reader started allowing users to search their own RSS history, it has become my primary search tool. I know I’ve come across a certain topic before, and Google Reader provides something that is missing in almost all other search options: context.