Noise is distracting and irritating enough in the real world, but Kate Crawford, Associate Professor in Media Research at the University of New South Wales, says it also exists in the virtual world, and is often more insidious. Digital distractions disguise themselves as useful information – posts from friends on Twitter and Facebook, text messages, email and instant messaging. She says separating the noise from the signal is often an arduous and personalised task. And as a new generation of youngsters grows up with mobile phones and uninterrupted network connectivity, researchers fret about a possible information overload and its effects on attention span. Last month Kate Crawford spoke with David Weinberger on Radio Berkman about the history of noise and how noise lives in the digital world.