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CPD23 Thing 2 – whole lot of reading

In CPD23 on June 21, 2011 by africker Tagged: , , , , ,

Thing 2 is to read around some of the other blogs.  I have wandered through more than few today making comments here and there.  I found some from the health tag in the delicious set, some from the CDP23 tag on wordpress and others from browsing through.

One thing I found interesting was putting names to blogs to twitter feeds.  It was not always terrible clear where you were going to end up. Being part of a group blog here may well also mean I am somewhat tucked away.

An interesting discussion broke out over at Libraries the Universe and Everything and I thought I would bring my next comment over here as the meat in this post.

We were discussing how many blogs you follow via RSS (I realise as I type that I follow non blog things via RSS also) and how people manage large numbers.  I was reminded of this article by Cory Doctorow.  In it he talks about how his information consumption methods/habits have changed over time as initial high signal sources / venues have become swamped as they grow in popularity.  He identifies a pattern:

Once I could read every item in my list of RSS feeds; now I periodically mark them all as read without looking at any of them, just to clear the decks: if there’s something good in the missed material, someone will repost it and I’ll see it then.”

I was also put in mind of Michael Gorman (see also the “blog people” farrago) in his book “The Enduring Library” (well worth a read) which amongst other things proposes dealing with information overload through the use of a very ecommunication light diet.

Striking a balance is always the challenge.

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8 Responses to “CPD23 Thing 2 – whole lot of reading”

  1. The information overload issue is exactly why I limit myself to 100 RSS feeds – I don’t see the point in subscribing to a load of feeds I’m not actually going to read most of most of the time. Additionally I rely on my twitter network to flag up other interesting articles, meaning that I consume pre-selected content from a lot more sources, which is great. It did take me a while to accept that I wasn’t able to read absolutely everything, but it’s much less stressful now I’ve got to that point, and I really don’t think I’m missing anything life-changing!

  2. I’m pleased that the RSS-feed overload problem affects other people too–I really don’t know where I’d be without the “Mark all as Read” button! I just subscribe to loads of stuff and, even though they’re carefully categorised (a true librarian, I am), I probably actually read barely 10%, and as Emma said, rely on my Twitter network to highlight useful things for me to read. Looking forward to (probably later!) following up on your links. Very interesting, however, to see the development of a kind of policy emerging. So thanks–and will look forward to reading the rest of your posts!

  3. Surprisingly I only have 80 subscriptions though I am adding more for CPD23. 78 of those are personal interest and nothing to do with work (I’ve added 2 CPD23 ones already) — knitting, photography, general interest (e.g. kottke), science-related. I used to have a large number of work-related feeds too for public health for current awareness purposes, but having recently changed jobs I purged those and haven’t quite found my feet yet to figure out what would be useful to follow.

    I follow similar sentiments of Cory Doctorow though if you are already on the fringes of something you may not hear about it. Often I mark whole feeds as read because they are prolific (e.g. Scientific American) and I just don’t have time. I think doing this tells you where your interests are because you feed those first. Sometimes when I’m away and disconnected (I have a smart phone that isn’t really very good at keeping in touch), I return and feel a bit overwhelmed about everything I’ve missed, but then I say “Well there was that whole year where I hardly glanced at a blog and I survived” and then happily mark all as read. It is very easy to get bogged down with keeping abreast of everything on blogs, Twitter, and the professional literature. I think there is still a long way to go in finding that balance.

    I don’t think this has come across as coherent as I had hoped. I’ll maybe give it more thought and pick it up on my own blog.

  4. RSS overload is a big problem for me, the problem is when you mark as read you forget which blogs you just always skip over, those need weeding really.

  5. I know Google Reader tracks the things you have read (what doesn’t google track?) but I am not sure if it differentiates between actually read and just clicked bulk read. Must have a look.

  6. Despite the universal loathing for email and the wonderful world that RSS was supposed to deliver, I can’t help but feel that RSS has simply failed to live up to its promise. It’s just too easy to ignore. Emails sit in my inbox, staring me down every day until I do something with them. RSS feeds on the other hand can be wiped clean without a shred of remorse. Despite subscribing to numerous work-related feeds over the years, I only have two that get read more than 50% of the time. This one and Bad Science. Perhaps cpd23 will help me find something else that sticks.

    • Thanks Ben – pleased to be offering something generally worth reading.

      I am finding it hard to know where to turn in the torrent of potential reading – I have enjoyed more than a few things I have read but I wonder if future posts without the CPD23 motivation would necessarily remain a priority? Hopefully some good new stuff will bubble up as you say.

  7. [...] thing for me.  I had a long love affair with Bloglines that I used for a good six years and I have commented already about my current RSS [...]

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