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.