I don’t know if my attention span is getting shorter or if blog posts are getting longer. Perhaps it’s Facebook’s short status updates, Twitter’s 140 character limit, or the fact that I’m finally realizing that I have better things to do than read everything written on the internet that day. Whatever the case, I find that I don’t read nearly as much as I used to. Let me be specific, though. I read more articles per day now than normal, but I read less words per day.
This all started with Google Reader. I was subscribed to way too many feeds. Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 feeds. Of those 100, maybe 20 updated daily. Of those 20, 10 would have between 7-10 stories each day. Some were just daily web-comics. Others were feeds like TechCrunch, Lifehacker, or some of the Google blogs. Originally, I read almost every single one of them. I’d skip some of the ones that didn’t seem relevant to me, but I’d read about 95% of all of them, overall.
This got to be too overwhelming. I’d mark things as read and feel guilty. I like a clean inbox, and my feed reader should be no different. But not reading them felt like cheating. Why subscribe to them if I wasn’t going to read them? Google Reader added a “Sort by Magic” feature that made this a lot easier. I could view all, sort by magic, and somehow only seem to get the content that I actually cared about. Still, though, I found myself constantly moving to the next story after only reading the first paragraph. Then the first few sentences. Then sometimes only the title.
Now that Google Reader is closing, I’ve had to find a new source to curate my feeds. I’ve moved to Feedly, and it’s been quite nice. I still read very little compared to the amount that I’m subscribed to. It’s kind of annoying to stop reading for a while and see 30 new articles, though. Even worse, I’m only subscribed to maybe 5 or 6 feeds at this point, and the unread count still looms over me.
Am I the only one that suffers from this? Am I the only one that feels guilty about it, as well? What solutions are there to not spend as much valuable time, while still staying caught up on most of the news?
I'm an SDE at Amazon.com, writing services and user interfaces for third-party merchants. When I'm not working, I'm probably redesigning my blog for the thousandth time. I like UI design more than service design.
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