One Week On the Low Information Diet
RSS feeds have changed my life. The ability to receive information in one place, instead of going to the site to check if there is something new, is just a better option. It is way more efficient. I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: If you’re visiting more than 10 sites in a day to see if they have posted something new, I pity your poor soul. If you are a devourer of information, which I’ll assume you are because you’re reading this post, then using a feed reader and subscribing to feeds is the way to go. It’s just a no brainer.
The ease of subscribing can take you into the territory of just a little too much. Too much information is for the individual to decide, but it’s a “you know it when you see it kind of thing”. Some people start getting fatigued when they go over 10 feed subscriptions, others when they go over 100, and some are just freaks of nature. The number doesn’t really matter. When you start going through your feeds out of a sense of obligation, instead of of sense of enjoyment, then I think it’s time to start reconsidering.
Andre Kibb from Tools for Thought writes about this and goes over the benefits of a low information diet, where he unsuscribed from every Google Reader feed. That for me is a very radical idea. I don’t think I’m ready for that yet. But I think I should start lowering the calories a little.
One problem that he sees is that information through RSS puts you in a loop of finding and looking for more and more information. He explains:
RSS has convinced me that information is a need that feeds on itself. The more information you find, the more information you seek, and the more you seek, the more you find.
The point of going on a “low information diet” is to make you think about what matters, because when it’s too high, it’s hard to tell the “good fats” from the “bad fats”. Again, from Tools for Thought:
Some of the information we consume is important, some of it was important, and some of it might be important. The best way to objectively determine what’s relevant is stopping the flow of information entirely for a finite period. As long as you’re trying to keep up with incoming information, there’s no way to have sufficient perspective to distinguish between the content with high relevance and the content that’s consumed out of habit.
One week will be too much for me, but I’m considering going on 24 to 48 hours.