I've had lots of trouble balancing my time online lately, between blog reading, publishing and code writing. Although I don't use the bloglines update notifier, I leave bloglines opened in a tab and check it regularly. Unlike Steve Gillmor, who also is a confessed RSS addict, I can't bear leaving items un-read for as long as a day.
But as my subscriptions continue to grow, I spend less time hacking and publishing. Its feels like being an information junky, in need of a quick fix. And like channel hopping on TV or junk food, it leaves an after-taste of dissatisfaction.
The quick context switching between all these little posts have a negative effect on my attention lifespan and I have to queue denser and longer essays for later reading.
Maybe grouping posts by topic using some smart categorizer based on content and link structure would help prioritize posts. This would help to limit the fragmentation, replication and dilution of information, by grouping the "title+comment+link" posts that are alike together.
Another solution is to prioritize feeds themselves using some tivo-like thumbs-up button in aggregators. I've been wishing for this a long time, as it would help identify the feeds that don't have high enough signal/noise ratios for me, push them to the bottom of my subscription list and eventually trim them off.
But I'm thinking of a more radical solution, like having a personal RSS-free day in the week. I haven't tried it yet, and it would sure help if bloglines had a feature to enforce it ("sorry, no feeds for you today, come back tomorrow"), but I think it would make feeds more manageable for me, by artificially inserting a break and let all these ideas sort themselves and decant.
Posted by Julien on March 02, 2004. Permalink