Adjusting Your Information Flow

Adjusting Your Information Flow

Are you fed up with the amount of information that flows your way, particularly all the stuff from the online world? Me, too, and I have been fed up with it for some time.

An information scientist recently noted that useful information is increasing at a linear rate, while spam and other non-useful information is increasing exponentially.

I think he’s right about the non-useful part, but I also suspect that useful information is increasing at an exponential rate, too … it’s just that it has a smaller exponent than the non-useful info.

The bottom line is the same regardless: the ratio of good stuff to crap is decreasing, and it is going to become even harder to find good info amongst all the crap.

So, what can we do? I’m not entirely sure, but I am experimenting:

I’ve cut down the number of RSS feeds I follow from a one-time high of over 300 to its current 46. Even having done that, though, there are still too many repetitive articles and there are far too many that are not even worth reading. Out of every 50 articles, I read only 2 to 5, max. I will continue to make cuts in the feeds.

For example, this morning I cut TechCrunch from my feeds after noticing that only one of its last 30 stories had any appeal to me at all.
I am searching for good aggregation sites so that I don’t have to even have a feed reader. Right now I am very impressed with TechMeme for finding the best technical articles.

Of course, it doesn’t capture articles about life management or learning, since it is strictly technical. But, I think it will let me cut down on most of my tech feeds. It could be that Yahoo!, CNN, Huffington Post, The Economist, and so on, replace my other feeds.

Twitter, as enjoyable and informative as it can be at times, consumes too much of my time. So this week I am doing without it.

(The LifeHacker and Matt Cutts blogs have articles on this “fad” of going without Twitter for a week.) So far I do not miss it a bit (I’ve done without it 3 days), and I feel more peace of mind, too. There’s just less clutter and junk in my mind.

I’m going to continue to work on ways to reduce the influx of non-useful information into my life. What about you? What are you doing to cut back on it? What good aggregation tools have you found?

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