My 2015 reboot includes trimming back on email, Twitter and podcast content. I think this might be a good process to do at the end and beginning of each year because it frees up mental space and makes it easier to focus and feel ready to dig in.
I go through different phases of knowledge acquisition (an expansion and contraction of sorts) in new areas I want to explore and those that are continued interests. Over time I accumulate too many resources on a particular topic and then I start to drown in noise. With new subjects it takes to time to identify the most effective sources, but once I do it’s easier to slim down the others.
I prefer to receive information by email. Even before Google Reader died I was doing less and less reading blogs by RSS. If I found good content I wanted it sent directly to where everything else goes–my inbox. I didn’t want to have to remember to go looking for it.
As I was digging through my inbox at the end of 2014 I realized there were a bunch of mailing lists I was on that sent content I never read, wasn’t interesting or wasn’t helping me–I started unsubscribing wherever I could. For some of these lists I’ll probably end up subscribing again, but for the time being I just want less noise in my inbox. It’s tempting to want to stay on a list where there are occasional “hits” but I’ve found if it’s really good I’ll hear about it somewhere else.
Following Blogs on RSS
Over the past few weeks I randomly picked up reading RSS feeds again (I’m using Feedly on iPad) and purged a bunch of sites. I’m a little more liberal with what I keep here since it’s easy to “mark all read” and volume here is not the distraction it is in my inbox.
I’ve pruned the number of people I’m following on Twitter. Over time I’ve zero’d in on what I like to read on Twitter. My preference is someone who shares a mixture of semi-personal content and interesting links. What’s most important to me is that more often than naught, they share some sort of commentary about the content they share.
I’ve grown weary of the robo-post, data-dump type tweets that you can tell are staged in advance and contain nothing beyond the title of the article and a URL. I agree it’s a form a curation and I know most people use some discretion, but when I all see is a stream of titles and URL it doesn’t feel human. Following real, authentic people is important to me.
Finally I applied the same process to the podcasts I listen to. Again, if there is a really important episode or topic there is a high chance I’ll hear about it from an email list, blog or Twitter.
An Interwoven Web
The real value seems to be in all the interwoven channels of email, blogs, Twitter and podcasts. The beauty I see is that you don’t have to be all in one one medium. When the same content pops up in multiple places there’s a good chance it’s worth the time.