4354 articles unread. The number stands out in bold red letters on my otherwise pristine and stark background of my Ipad. It is the “number of items unread” in my RSS feed. Its just a number though, just ONE number of the many messages, news items, tweets, video’s podcasts and comments that “await my attention”. And still, this fairly hefty number does signify a “select stream” of information I have personally chosen. My own ‘slice of what I find interesting online” whom I have piped into my RSS reader. I try to do a mental calculation on how long it would take me to effectively read all of those articles with an average of about 5 or 10 minutes per article. The revelation that only scanning through the headers would take me the better part of the afternoon, is sobering and depressing at the same time. How on earth am I gonna keep up ?
In the “new normal” of the information age, where filtering has become much more important then ‘collecting’, it seems that even if we “slice down” our piece of the internet , we are unable to even glance at all the information that is constantly coming our way. For the umpteenth time, I promise myself I’ll spend some time ‘culling down’ all of those RSS feeds even further. Bringing their number (that has significantly shrunk over time) down ever further. But ‘cutting them down to a lesser number’ would be easy, the skill required here is to further ‘clarify’ and ‘purify’ the information streams according to my interests and needs for information.
When I was giving a lecture a few days ago I was asked ‘How come you know all this stuff ? ‘ and I must say, I was a little surprised by the question. To be honest , I didn’t know. Didn’t everybody know this kind of stuff ? I had to think back where along the way I picked all of the stuff I talked about up somewhere and came to a strange conclusion. I know everything I know .. from the internet. Wether it be books that I downloaded (or listened to) articles that I read, TED Talks that I watched and podcasts I listened to. And it got me thinking.