Skip to the first post - Social Media - of this series.

The Internet is hyper-saturated with information. From solid reliable make-the-world-go0-round stuff to wild rambling fantasies – it’s all there.

How do we know what is trustworthy or real?

How often have we taken a bizarre story to be true, even momentarily, only to subsequently discover it was a hoax? Yes, a simple Google search could have revealed thus – but how much time do we have to check everything we read?

How do we get at the stuff that really interests us? I am extremely miserly when it comes to bookmarking sites, and yet despite my best efforts I am still looking at a huge scrolling list with nested folders.

I know what I am interested in. Can someone just fetch that for me please?

Knowledge-distillation tools and services are more critically in demand than ever before. In the mid 90s, I was reading about and looking at heuristic search engines, knowledge discovery engines, and knowledge agents. These are active (search engines) and passive (agents) tools that are designed to help me locate the content that interests me, as well as a certain fuzzy selection of the peripheral/complementary material.

There is probably continual opportunities to develop knowledge distillation within vertical markets with specific needs.

Knowledge Digestors

For the wider general market, perhaps the opportunity lies in developing an in-house digester system (a combination of software and human-based processes) to distil and sell specific sets of knowledge.

These can be predetermined packages (similar to the sale of market statistics and opinion poll numbers) or more interestingly packages on demand. I could for example pay $x to have this service send me summarised information on the propensity of people who surf the web on the toilet with their iPads and the most popular content viewed.

The service could use detaining tools to extract the raw data off the net, the use humans to pre-process, pre-digest, structure and organise this information. So I get exactly what I need when I need it without having to wade through the Internet. This fits in with businesses’ need for specialised/niche information delivered only when needed, and in the right density.

I mentioned on-demand training in Part 2 of this series. Teach me only what I need to know right now.

Data visualisation

We are also seeing a rise in the field of data visualisation and infographics. This is no doubt driven by the need to make visual sense of the information overload, and fuelled by the availability of software visualisation tools and cheap processing power.

Most of us are drawn to infographics more so than to tables of numbers or panes of text. This can only be a growing field for the moment. Graphic designers or multimedia designers with a more structured/process-oriented brain may want to look at this field.

The opportunity lies in having the right visualisation tools, and packaging those with the right consultative services to sell clarity to businesses. This could dovetail neatly with consultancies who already sell understanding, pattern identification and strategies.

There is no stopping a single programmer or designer from offering this service either.