Controlling Information Overload

I’ve read a number of blog posts recently written by people who are feeling the strain of information overload. They’re talking about the freedom that’s come with dropping feeds out of their aggregator.

I feel a bit guilty, but I kind of laugh at that. We each decide what blog feeds we’re going to subscribe to, what newsletters we’re going to invite into our inboxes. We also have the ability to disinvite both at any time.

Personally, every couple of months, I like to throw a bunch of feeds I think I’m not reading or that I’m not getting anything new or useful from into a folder that I mark as “read” at the beginning of every time I sit down with my aggregator. If I find myself missing a blog, I look in the folder. (It hasn’t happened that often.) At the end of the month, I delete every feed in the folder.

So far, I’ve rid myself of nearly 100 feeds I wasn’t reading, keeping only one that I wasn’t quite done with yet. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything because in many cases, the blogs either covered a topic I was no longer following or the good posts are referenced by far smarter bloggers than me (and I happen to follow those far smarter bloggers).

The nice thing about the way the internet currently works is that we can control what information comes to us when. It’s a series of personal choices, and we have to do what we can to keep it relevant and useful to us.

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