It occurred to me the other day that I wasn’t using my Google Reader account anymore because it was out of control. I’ve tried tons of different ways to try and tackle the sheer mass of information in there, from Postrank to different folder setups to filtering through Feedly, but none of it was working. My conclusion after years of struggle is that information overload is real, and there is only one way to fight it: reduction.
So I set out to start trimming the hedges. What was extraneous? What was redundant? Do I really need this many sources of info? What could I easily get rid of to get things down to a manageable level?
I cut one or two…pretty easy. But after that, I started rationalizing:
“What if Engadget runs a story that Gizmodo doesn’t?
“I know this British planner that I’ve never met hasn’t posted in 2 years, but what if he solves planning?”
“Maybe one day I’ll get around to reading about how Angry Birds is really an argument for post digital transmarxist capitalismism.”
It became clear that I have a serious problem: I’m an RSS Hoarder.
It’s true. Unmistakable. I had over 400 feeds. And I couldn’t justify getting rid of any of them even though o was using none of them.
The situation was grim. I was paralyzed. Eventually arriving at the only true solution: the nuclear option.
I went scorched earth. Wiped my subscriptions completely clean. And it felt great. Nirvana. Free from the tyranny of that evil red unread count. Free to start over.
I’ve since started slowly rebuilding, but this time I’m being much smarter. This time I know what was useful, and that quality is far superior to quantity. I know what is redundant, what blogs post too much for RSS, and the people who I’m truly interested in subscribing to. I have about 8 subscriptions so far, and it’s working great. I’m reading the stuff that I need to know for my accounts again, and I’m getting a lot more inspiration out if the several sites that have always been the most interesting to me.
I highly recommend it. It’s a huge step, but well worth it in the end.