My needles please, hold the haystack
The bridge column in the paper. The Farm Report on the radio. The day's closing bond prices. What do these things have in common?
As long as we've had information, we've had information geared for specific audiences. But in the past, that information was delivered the only way possible - broadcast it to everyone and let them figure out what they want to pay attention to. I don't even know how to play bridge, yet the column is in my newspaper every day. I'm not a farmer so the Farm Report doesn't really interest me. And I don't own any bonds. Yet we've always had to wade through a haystack of information that doesn't pertain to us to find the needles of information that do.
Well no more. The web makes it possible to deliver just the right information to the right people. Corporate Intranets often do this based on one's role within an organization - showing the user just what they need to know to do their job.
But more and more public websites are empowering users to configure the sites to deliver information based on the their interests. Pageflakes, Netvibes, and MyYahoo are just three examples of sites that allow you to customize what you want to see. For many people these sites are powerful "homepages" that can deliver much of the information people want online, all in one place - news, weather, RSS feeds, even the bridge column.