Internets Overload

I came across a blog entry titled “RSS, Twitter, and Information Overload” on Francine Hardaway’s Blog, which I found very interesting and intriguing.

It reminded me of a dilemma that I myself (as well as millions of other Internet users) continually face.

This is particularly true of those of us of the surprisingly small number of Internet users who make use of RSS feeds.

Ms Hardaway is not the first person I’ve come across who has this sort of dilemma.  It’s become quite common. 

My issues here are even more extreme.  Unlike most people, I have no life.  I am disabled (due to rather extreme depression) and therefore, I have no job and lots of free time.  I spend virtually 90 percent of my waking moments on the Internets and I’m still overwhelmed!

I am subscribed to over three hundred feeds in Google Reader.

And guess what?  I rarely use Google Reader other than to add even more RSS feeds!

Most of what I read on the Internet is stuff I come across randomly (or from links to pages via Digg, Reddit, Mixx, StumbleUpon and so forth).  Before I discovered RSS several years ago, I used email subscriptions in place of it. And I never got around to canceling about 30 percent of those subscriptions.

I get “breaking news” email alerts from CNN and The New York Times.  And more often than not, those alerts are how I land on said websites.  Once I’m there I end up reading not only the :”breaking news” item, but other stories that catch my attention.  Then something will intrigue me in one of the stories and I’ll do a Google Search and the rest is history….

I’ll often do a Wikipedia search on something I come across and just like back in the day, when I had a set of encyclopedias, I’ll end up reading far more articles than I intended.

I can literally spend half the day reading Wikipedia articles. And I often make corrections and additions to them.

So who has time for RSS (and Instant Messaging, Usenet, Mailing Lists, Twitter) and all of the other things you can find on the Internets?

I don’t,and as I said, I spend all freakin’ day and most of the night here.

So how does anyone with a life (i.e. a Job, family, social life, etc). manage any of this?

I’ll be damned if I know.

I discovered Twitter a few years back and found little use for it. But lately, I’ve begun using it more and more. And for what?  Mostly I share links I come across with the strangers out there who choose to follow me.

And don’t get me started on sittes like MySpace and Facebook..

And to top all that off, I discovered FriendFeed fairly recently (for those who don’t know Friendfeed is a way to keep up with others Internet activity.  – you can see my FriendFeed page for an example).

To recap, there is waaay too much information out there and how people with lives can attempt to manage it is beyond me.  I have no life and I can’t manage it at all.

But what am I going to do about my dilemma?  Nothing, of course…

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3 Responses to “Internets Overload”

  1. profy Says:

    LOL, that’s what I’ve always been thinking myself: I constantly find that whenever I try to consume everything that arrives to my RSS reader or to my FriendFeed or to Twitter only, I realize that I finish the day without doing anything but consuming information – never producing anything of my own 🙂 And that is also with me spending all my waking day online (with a small exception of a couple of hours I spend walking my dog). Really, I have no idea if there are people who actually read everything that crosses all their information consumption channels but I have my doubts about it.

  2. Scott Says:

    @profy. The thing is, when I subscribe to an RSS feed it’s because it’s from a site I find interesting (most of my RSS feeds are from tech and political news sites (and blogs of all kinds) and I get frustrated when I’ll otherwise end up forgetting about some very intersting sites.

    A good example is Lifehacker – I’ve even got it here on my Blogroll. It’s another site I can spend a good hour or two on and it’s been days since I read a Lifehacker article.

    Oh well. 🙂

  3. profy Says:

    @Scott: Absolutely true, subscribing to an RSS feed takes more than subscribing to someone on Twitter or FriendFeed and missing things from your favorite sites because you get absorbed in things that somehow happen to be on your radar from Twitter may very well sound like wasting time.


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