I’m proposing a new law which I’m calling “Dave’s First Law of Information”. It goes like this:
Information expands to more than fill the amount of time allocated to deal with it
A few years ago I had a small number of web sites that I’d visit regularly in order to keep up to date with what was going on. This would take up a small proportion of my day.
Then I found more and more web sites about subjects I was interested in and keeping up to date with them all started to take up more and more of my time. Then friends of mine started blogging and that added another couple of dozen sites to the list. It was becoming a serious drain on my time.
Enter RSS. Most of the web sites the I was interested in had RSS feeds (and the few that didn’t soon fell off the list) so I found an RSS reader that I liked and set up my list of feeds. When I started, I probably had thirty or forty feeds on my list, but because I was reading everything in one place, it suddenly took a lot less time to read them all and I regained a lot of time.
And what did I do with that time. Well, of course, I added more feeds to my list. And that soaked up more and more time again. Currently I’m approaching 200 entries on my Bloglines list and not many days go by when I don’t add another. I’m probably spending more time keeping up t odate than I was before I switched to RSS. Oh, I’m incredibly well informed, but I’ve lost all my spare time again.
So it’s probably time to prune my subscription list. There are probably a few feeds that were about events that have finished (the General Election being a good example). Then maybe there are a few feeds that haven’t proved to be as interesting as I thought they might be.
But the biggest impact will almost certainly be removing all the feeds that don’t include the full text of the entries. Reading RSS is supposed to be saving me time. I don’t have time to read a little bit of teaser text and then open up the original site to read the whole article. It’s about absorbing as much information as possible in as short a time as possible. And that means having all the information on one page.
So there may well be a bit of a cull of feeds from my subscriptions list over the weekend. Of course, that’ll just free up more time for me to add more new feeds.