Apr 7, 2005

fire hydrants

I'm not sure how I feel about this piece.

On one level I can relate. There have been a number of times now when the net has done this to me. Actually that is unfair. I did it to myself. The first time was back in 1994 or so. I was a newsgroup and mailing list addict. I distinctly remember sitting at my Sparcstation in grad school, logging in, and being overwhelmed at how many new mailing list emails and newsgroup postings I had to go through before I could do my research. Before this it was much harder to get information overload and so my guard was down.

The more I think about it, the more RSS and aggregation seem like slight variants on those two technologies. Strip specific content of any aesthetics and pump it down to a user. In a way we've come full circle. The only difference being, instead of individuals writing, it was communities. My previous post about culling RSS feeds now strikes me as the same sort of process I went through with my newsgroups and mailing list subscriptions at that time.

Eventually I just dropped newsgroups entirely. I think I got burned out. Then I picked up websites maybe a year later (which had grown in prevalence at that point) and then got burned out again. Now it's RSS. Will I get burned out with these too?

Which brings me to my other point. The only reason I'm getting burned out is because I'm a news junkie. Information junkie is probably more appropriate since I don't really enjoy news that much. So I've done this to myself. I think I realize I have an issue with this ('my name is chooky and I have a problem...'). That's why I scaled back on the number of feeds I've been getting. And after I did that initial culling, I've continued to take a machete to tons of other feeds.

It's too easy to get information overload with the web. It really does require a little bit of self-control which I'm trying to exercise more diligently now. But is this guy suggesting it would be better without all this content? I'm not sure what his real point is unless it's just to vent. Which I guess I can sympathize with.

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