This is not an ALERT

In an effort to gain visibility in a world of information overload, the media invented the "ALERT". However, there seems to be no consensus as to what an "ALERT" means. The result is "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" syndrome, where an ALERT more often than not adds to the noise.

I made the mistake of subscribing to ZDNet mailing Open Source ALERT mailing list. Note to ZDNet, a post by Dana Blankenhorn is not worthy of an alert. That is not to discredit Dana whatsoever. I subscribe to Dana's blog. However, a daily blog post is not ALERT-worthy. I unsubscribed. ZDNet lost a communication channel to me, their customer.

Note that cable news is not immune, where they spend endless hours of analyzing a single topic. An ALERT is intended to notify the viewer of something eventful, although it rarely does so.

My thoughts on good vs bad alerts.

Good alerts - including mandatory Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, Apple references:

  • Yahoo buys Microsoft
    Microsoft buying Yahoo lost its alert-ability months ago
  • Google Trends shows googling Google on the decline
    Not that it will ever happen
  • Microsoft places [anything significant] under an open source license
  • Apple opens up iPhone to developers, and AT&T Unlimited data plan is really unlimited, enabling SlingBox owners to Sling.
    GlassFish & MySQL Unlimited really is Unlimited.
  • Tsunami. Earthquake.

Bad alerts:

  • Microsoft buys Yahoo
    See "endless hours of analyzing a single topic" above
  • new iPhone model released
    "... endless hours ..." yada, yada, yada
  • Anything about Britany Spears
    Alerts should be newsworthy
  • Alien Invasion
    They're already here
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