Pushing Information

I did something unusual this weekend – I cleaned up old emails. I try to file everything away, and stuff that doesn't fit anywhere I save in a folder called "Contacts." (Yeah I know that doesn't make sense, but I consider it a folder where I keep things from people I've only been in touch with once or twice, and it wasn't pertaining to anything special, and I want to keep them for future reference.)

I went back through that folder this weekend, and it is was amazing to me how many people were filed away in there don't really meet that definition. For instance, there were emails from people that wanted me to check out their new blog. At the time, I either didn't or I guess I didn't like it, and I just filed it away. Some of these people have been added to my RSS feeds now, and many of them I thought I discovered on my own or via other blogs. It was a very strange feeling.

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It made me wonder about "pushing" information. I often read about that as being the next step after search. In some future society you will be able to have information automatically sent to you just as you need it, but it must be extremely difficult to get the timing component of the information correct.

In my email example above, there were people pointing me to something that I obviously was interested in, just not at that time. I didn't pay attention then, but discovered it later on my own. It has me wondering if pushing information is really possible without knowing, very precisely, the exact brain state of the person receiving the "pushed" information. It seems to me that if the emails had come at a different time, I may have subscribed to those blogs when I received the email.