Diane Mermigas writes:
All this talk about hyper-targeting, super search and selective networking could be a sign of trouble. ¶ The Internet, a big black hole of infinite content and information, is being segmented by users into relevant byte-sized chunks. Some of the time spent sifting through tagged, blogged and bookmarked content was once used to make more spontaneous discoveries in newspapers, magazines and online. Our need to more efficiently manage digital’s cornucopia invariably reduces our time for random search and enlightenment. Plus, it’s possible that too little serendipity in cyberspace could produce a narcissistic populace well-versed in their own interests, but ignorant about the world at large. ¶ Certainly the Internet allows users to delve deeper into their interest areas more frequently and effectively than any other platform in history. Instant interactivity promises us more time for other things. But as our online management tools become more pre-set and precise, we become less intent on random search and discovery. It’s a tradeoff that comes at a subtle but significant price. ...
Update 26 November 2007:
Be sure to also read John Proffitt's thoughtful comment to this post below, with which I agree. --Dennis