Currently reading lots of things about digital patterns of attention

Most of which I’ve found via Matt Locke’s Storythings.

I’ve been tweaking my various feeds on Google Reader (all part of sorting out my media consumption, after reading ‘The Information Diet’). I decided to ditch most of the mainstream content/news feeds – that stuff seems to find me anyway, mostly via Twitter. Instead, I figured I’d get most value from Google Reader by subscribing to distinctive individual voices/indie blogs and zines… And Matt’s Storythings was one of the things I added…

I’ll try to think a bit more about digital patterns of attention and maybe write something in a bit. In the meantime, I love this quote from Matt’s Yearnotes:

in an age of agile and iterative culture, the lines between research, strategy and product are blurry and often irrelevant

It feels very relevant to what I’m up to at the moment (redesigning the Journalism course at Westminster) and an attitude/approach I should be trying to embed into the course.

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The idea behind my Reading List posts

I’ve been reading Clay Johnson’s ‘The Information Diet’ recently. His central analogy – the idea that we are over-consuming information the way we over-consume food – works as a way to get your attention though it is rather over-extended.

That said, Jonson’s general point – that we need to think more carefully about media consumption – is hard to argue with.

For example, I’ve become a bit troubled by the habit I’ve fallen into with Instapaper. In theory, this fantastic tool is supposed to help you consume online media more effectively and efficiently – it strips out ads, save the text for later when you can focus on it etc.

In practice, it doesn’t seem to work quite like that, at least not for me. I use Instapaper to save loads of things to read during the day – I find stuff via Twitter, Google Reader, Zite – but I never really get round to actually reading them – probably because I save too much.

So all I really know from all the pieces I save is what I pick up from scanning them quickly when I first encounter them and am trying to work out if I should save them to Instapaper.

So my idea with the ‘reading list’ post is to go back through my unread Instapaper stuff, pull out pieces around a particular theme and actually make time to read (and think about) in the following week and then write a post summarising what I learned.

That’s the plan anyway. Let’s see if it works.

Reading List – Viral/Spreadable Media and Journalism

A few things I’m planning to read this week, on the subject of viral media and journalism. In theory, I’m going to write a follow-post in about a week about what I’ve learned: