A piece in The New York Observer yesterday on RSS feed-induced anxiety contained at least one quote from a helpless bed wetter:
"It makes me very sad, obviously, when I face the fact that there are like 115 items and I know that I'll never read them," wailed a 25-year-old hedge fund analyst at a rooftop party over the weekend. "And it's like, why can't I be a good enough person to know things about anything? Why am I so pathetic that I can't even read, like, 100 words a day? And then I have to hit the 'pretend everything is read' button, which is basically like hitting the 'lie to yourself' button. It's embarrassing. I hate myself when I do it. It's like the biggest possible failure you could have in your entire life, basically."
But aside from the NYC-centric phrasing (just minus the "in New York" from sentences like, "Getting to a place where you feel content with the amount and quality of online reading you're doing—shaking that agitation but not becoming complacent—is the true meaning of growing up in New York now."), I can relate to the self-inflicted anxiety of facing a stack of un-reads that you'll never get through. Just at lunch today I was surprised that some of my coworkers actually read pretty much everything that comes over their Twitter feeds, whereas I like to think of it as a constantly moving stream that I just duck into for the most current chatter. Like Facebook. (Don't even tell me you read everything in your Facebook feed.) RSS is still an indispensable tool for keeping track of the local people and businesses I need to keep tabs on, but I'm curious what other techniques and resources people might recommend for keeping their more leisurely, aspirational content ordered and manageable. After all, word on the street is that content is no longer king, curation is.
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