Noise. It can really bog you down. I know it does me at times. It's warm weather here in the Shenandoah Valley and when warm weather comes we frequently hold some small (one on one, one on two) meetings outside in front of the theatre to enjoy the weather. Unfortunately that brings noise with it. I'm not just talking about the cars and loud trucks that sometimes pass us by. Other employees and even some of our neighbors see us standing around talking and assume they can just walk up and chat. A polite, 'please excuse us we're in a meeting', usually does the trick, but the noise as already jumped into the conversation and interrupted the meeting flow.
Now, this isn't the passersby's fault. It is ours (or mine) for holding the meeting outdoors.
In my view there's a certain similarity here, though there are differences, with Robert Scoble's search for a noise reduction system whether it is brought to you by Twitter, FriendFeed, or pick your social network. Yes, I'm sure there will be some sort of noise reduction system in the future for these kind of things. The early adopters who have loads of followers will demand them, and the companies that build them don't want to see the Scoble's and the Calacanis's saying they've moved on because of too much noise.
But eventually, even with noise reduction systems, the only way to reduce the noise in any of these circumstances is to acknowledge it and know when to shut it off, whether it is Tweets, replies, comments, email, or what have you. It isn't easy, I know for a fact. I'm not talking about Scoble's first point here (choosing to remain ignorant) because that's a one way street to shutting yourself off, and as Scoble points out, all too well, can lead to those who do choose to swim in what's going on controlling the conversation in an ever decreasing cycle of cultural doom. I guess I'm suggesting that the best way is some sort of personal control and selecting when to swim and when to keep yourself on the beach, (or upstairs in the office.)
As my grandfather used to say,
"Just because the phone rings, you don't have to answer it. You do have a choice."