Buried in updates

20090513766

When I used to subscribe to magazines, I never felt like I had to read them immediately when they arrived. Don’t get me wrong, often times I did, but I never felt like it was a burden to have this unread magazine sitting around.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like my list off of unread items sitting in my RSS reader is a burden. Must. Read. Now. Can’t. Work. Must. Read. I joked about my unread items a few years ago. That’s long since past. Unread items are serious!

Scheduled

With magazines, I knew I had another month before any new content. With RSS, there might be new items in two minutes. Or even one. There is not certainty what reading pace is required to absorb it all.

Urgency

A magazine came once a month. Its content was written many months prior. It doesn’t matter when I read it. It will be just as valuable/invaluable. Online content is much different. Or perhaps it’s just my “me first” desire. If I don’t read/learn/absorb the content now, I will be missing out on something. People will know things I won’t. I’ll be worse at my job than others. And I can’t have that.

Discardable

And here’s the contradiction: most of the magazine is worth reading, most of the online content is fluff. I find I’m more and more often just marking stuff as read and moving on without a glance. It’s a bad habit of using the RSS reader as a bookmarks application. But there are those great moments and I’d hate to miss them. See above.

Newspapers

Newspapers seem to be the more generally accepted analogy for RSS. It doesn’t work for me – I’ve never been a newspaper sort of fella. The newspaper RSS feeds I subscribe to tend to be the most commonly ignored ones. Blogs and online incarnations of magazines (the two of which make up the bulk of my feeds) seem more closely related to traditional magazines than to newspapers or sections of newspapers. I’d be more likely to ignore a month of newspapers than to ignore an issue of a magazine. Content overload not withstanding.

Everywhere

Perhaps that phone that has the RSS in it would be a good idea. Transit time can be more useful. Despite these thoughts, generally, all the content on the internet still makes me happen. Not overwhelmed, just buried.

Hope you felt good about marking this read in your reader.


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