Saturday, June 11, 2022

Is There Too Much?

Scott D. Parker

Ever get the feeling you’ve jumped off the high dive, you splashed wonderfully in the deep end, but you can barely make it back to the surface?

There is a lot—A LOT—of stuff that comes our way in 2022, and it’s probably the internet's fault. For every random piece of knowledge we can look up with the computer that fits in our pockets—stop and think about that for a moment—that same device and service blasts us with data and images and sounds and games and everything.

It can become overwhelming.

So I decided to see just how much stuff comes my way in a week. I didn’t count my emails (although I probably should have) and kept it to the articles via my Feedly app. It’s an aggregator where content comes to me rather that me having to visit a buncha sites to get the stuff I want.

I have maybe 75 sites that I have put in my Feedly. Some of those publish once a week (like Peter King’s football column). Others publish dozens of articles a day (Gizmodo and Slash Film). Have to keep up with the geek news. Ultimate Classic Rock posts about a dozen or so articles a day, too.

There are quite a few writers I follow. Some of them post daily (Dean Wesley Smith, John Scalzi) while others are also weekly (Kristine Kathryn Rusch) and still others are whenever.  

Then there are the food blogs, Lifehacker, health and fitness blogs, the comic blogs, and the art and photography blogs. Yeah, it’s a lot.

But I don’t read them all. Far from it. I’ll scan the headlines and make an instant decision. If I’m reading on my iPad, I swipe and mark them as ‘read’ without even opening the article. Sometimes, I forward myself articles if I don’t have time right then and there to read them.

It’s a lot, but how much?

This is not an exact science. I tried to get through some and then note that I cleared, say, 38 on Monday morning. And the workday kept me off the app later in the week so the articles backed up.

But here are some numbers over a 5-day span from Monday until Friday.

By 1:30pm on Monday, I had received and cleared 135 articles.
By the time I went to be on Tuesday, I had received more or less 140 more. I didn’t log how many I cleared. My Wednesday number was approximately 363. Thursday morning I had 259 in the queue at 5:40 am. I cleared almost none. By Friday morning, the number was up to 468. I cleared some here and there so I don’t have a good number.

But you can see how it all adds up. So a rough guess is around 125 a day, making for approximately 625 individual articles in five days. This does not account for FaceBook or Twitter. That’s a whole other thing.

So is 625+ things to process per week worth it? I don’t really have FOMO at this stage of my life so I don’t care if I’m first. I just want to know. I could probably cull some of the articles and feeds I rarely read and ease up the deluge. But I do appreciate an app like Feedly where things come to me. And I like having it all in once place, even if it adds up to over 600 things to process per week.

How do you process news feeds? How do you get your news?

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