Swim The Digital Tsunami With These 5 Web Tools To Fix Information Overload

Saikat Basu 09-11-2011

We are finding out that too much of information is also clutter. We have talked about how technology can swing it both ways Managing Digital Information Overload - Is Technology The Cause & The Cure? [Opinion] ‘Drinking from the firehose’ is a turn of phrase you might not be familiar with. But believe me, if you are reading this blog and many others like this, it’s exactly what you are doing... Read More for us. For instance, a previous look at 7 Sites That Can Help You Deal With Information Overload gave us a bunch of tools to take on the information flow and swim with it. If you come to think of it, nearly every software, web app, or smart mobile app is built to somehow not sink under the tsunami of digital information.


But the question remains – are we doing a good job of managing information to make our days more productive? That query alone makes me benchmark new apps and see how they can be dykes rather than flood gates.

Let’s look at five more web services to tackle information overload with some interesting filters.


information overload

Slipstream is a 2 MB sized browser extension for Chrome and Safari (sorry, no Firefox) that helps to manage your Twitter timeline. Its operation is very simple – after you authorize it on your Twitter account, Slipstream lets you hide tweets you don’t care about with a single click.

You can automate the process by using hashtags to filter out specific tweets. Complete muting of certain tweets is also possible for specific users, topics, and timelines. You can create different keyword based filters and let Slipstream scrub your cluttered Twitter timeline. It’s very easy to setup and use via a simple ‘Hide’ click that opens a little box with the filter options.



information overload and internet

Tackle information overload with personalized news. Tell Ensembli about the kind of stories you are interested in and it scouts out web mentions for you across the board. You can fine tune it after signing in, but Ensembli works just as well without the free registration. Just use the little box on the homepage to let it know your topic of interest.

With a registration, you can setup Ensembli to send you daily or weekly email alerts when it comes across a story on your interests. You can also keep your account stocked with the stories you want to keep and share.


information overload and internet


Summify tackles information overload by applying some to the most shared and discussed items that you are interested in. It then ranks them by importance. You can add your Facebook, Twitter, and Google Reader accounts to bring your social feeds under Summify. Summify then rakes over your feeds, removes duplicate news items to reduce clutter, and shows streaming updates from your social networks with just the best stories.

You can set the web app with an update frequency, time interval between summaries, and number of stories to be sent in each summary, and also set up email notifications. Summify condenses your information and you can view it with the help of an iPhone app, get it on email, or take it straight on the web.

[NO LONGER WORKS] EveryBlock (U.S. only)

information overload and internet

The web is so universal that it makes us miss what’s happening in our neighborhood. EveryBlock is an interesting app because it brings back the idea of ‘local’. With EveryBlock you can follow neighborhood news (here are the types) and connect with your neighbors in 16 U.S. cities. How does it help you to focus on important information? By bringing news that’s relevant at the level of neighborhood or city block. Anything that’s beyond that is kept out.


Updated news and tools to post messages and connect with those immediately close to you in your own city are the key features. You can narrow it down by ZIP code. It’s something to look forward to as more cities get added.

Spezify (no longer available)

information overload

If you have to go on a search, take a visual search engine with you. Personally speaking, visualization of information helps me to digest information much faster. Spezify is fast and it taps into multiple information sources like Yahoo, Twitter, Reuters, Facebook, Wikipedia, YouTube, MSN, Amazon etc.).

You can filter the visual results by images, text, videos, music, and Twitter mentions. A list of related keywords also helps to try out a few more variations. If this has got you interested in visual search, try out 4 Awesome Visual Search Engines to Transform Your Search 4 Awesome Visual Search Engines to Transform Your Search Read More .


If too much of information is still buffeting you and you just want to do more with less, look into:

Let us know of any favored app you use to manage information effectively. The simpler the better, if you too are swamped with too much of digital information.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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  1. Someone Else
    November 9, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    I use the Firefox add-on Read It Later. However, it seems all I've done thus far is to declutter my bookmarks menu and instead import everything into RIL. My only option for retaining this information permanently is to print out everything I've saved. That's not exactly environmentally friendly, nor is it the most practical or economical solution by far (I have something like 95 "pages" of bookmark links on my RIL list as of right now).

    I don't have a good short-term memory at all, which is why I save these pages. The transient nature of the Internet and RIL's offline browsing capability also make things easier to access if, say, a page goes 404ed or I can't remember the URL. It doesn't cut down on info overload for me, but it does help me to remember things a little better, with a little help from my Mozilla friend. :)

    • Saikat Basu
      November 11, 2011 at 3:49 am

      Yes, RIL is often recommended. But if you can build in a weekly habit of reading up on the links you have saved, you would do yourself a big favor. My RIL list became so long that "later" turned into "future" :)