Cleaning My Online House

signal focusI’ve started a draft of a post on getting older, New Year’s resolutions, and where I want to be in ‘09, but an aside to that is I’ve come to the realization that I need to limit the “noise” of my online world, which is the predominate one I live in. Specifically, the last couple of days that means cleaning out syndication feeds, and not just pruning dead ones. It means seriously evaluating everything that comes through my reader and determining if it’s a source of information or entertainment that is of value to me; determining if the volume of content justifies a constant bombardment from the source. Because several items in my reader are of time sensitive nature, I generally have my reader always open, fetching content every 15 minutes. Only when I’m in a serious crunch mode do I shut the reader down. I’m sure I could create filters of some nature that only fetched the time sensitive ones at a more regular interval, and the less time sensitive set to a manual updating, however I’ve come to enjoy the steady flow of information throughout the day. It’s just that I need to hone that stream.

One thing that’s also become abundantly clear over the last few weeks is that several of the sources in my feed reader are being duplicated due to my use of Twitter (either automated heralds of new blog posts, or manual linking). Seeing that Twitter contains entertaining and informative tidbits that don’t make it onto most blogs, the obvious choice was to dump the source in my reader, and continue to follow via Twitter.

Ironically enough, the genesis of this revelation was the result of having signal vs. noise, and the 37 signals product blog in my reader, and following @jasonfried on Twitter. There is so much redundancy and overlapping between the 3, that more often than not, all 3 would hit my “inbox” within minutes of each other with the same content. I certainly understand why, as most people aren’t following all 3, so Jason and 37 signals are trying to market and share information to the widest audience. Unfortunately for those like me, it becomes a nuisances, albeit an enlightening one that spurred a much needed tuning of the throughput.

Now that I’m in this mode, it also means that I’m shrewdly evaluating all blog feeds. A perfect example was tonight, Dave Winer’s Scripting News. 5 photos, in separate posts, with no context. Rather I should say, no context to me. Though I generally find his posts about blogging and “social media” thought provoking, whether I agree with his point or not, the majority of his content isn’t germane to my goals and focus. So out it went. That’s not to say when I have some downtime, and want to read a movie review from an amateur film buff ( and I use amateur only in the sense that reviewing films doesn’t put food on his table, as far as I know), that I won’t wander over to the actual site and peruse his site.

Certainly this process is also being applied to whom I follow on Twitter, as evident by this declaration:

when someone incessantly twitters about twitter, I call the line and unfollow.

This also applies to a few of the more recent people I’ve followed who find it necessary to welcome each of their new followers with a new tweet. Is there any harm in using all 140 characters and possibly welcoming more than one at a time? And is it really necessary to welcome them? Why not just provide good and interesting content in your tweets instead? Even better, if they reply to something you talk about, bloody respond to them. That’s the purpose. It’s not all about you…anyway, I digress.

Finally, I feel as though I should clarify that I’ve resurrected this weblog as a means to commit thoughts down to “paper”, and affirm to myself why I’ve chosen this path, the one of an online world. If for some reason it provokes someone else, all the better. If it provokes a discussion, then I’ve succeeded. If at worst, I can look back and provoke myself to get back on track, it’s not all that bad a thing.