Information is everywhere. Information scarcity is a thing of the past. The problem you will experience now and in the future isn’t a lack of information, but rather an excess of information. Connecting won’t be the issue, so much as disconnecting, saying no, choosing certain things instead of others. The potential cost of all this information may be your time and your sanity, if not managed well.
Google Reader is closing down. In the moment I first discovered this fact I found it quite vexing. A change would be necessary and I wasn’t sure I wanted to change. I don’t know why I cared so much. The truth was it had been a long while since I had really used Google Reader. There were some 1000+ unread items therein and reading blog posts in this fashion had long since become a terrible joyless chore. Particularly ironic was a folder titled “Productivity” which contained some 990+ unread posts. The exchange had become transactional — I would scroll down seemingly never ending lists of posts, or I would hit the ‘mark all as read’ button — and it was no longer serving anyone, certainly not me.
Of course Google was not the culprit. I was. I had added a whole bunch of things to my reading list, things I was genuinely interested in for a time, but these lingered long after I ran out of time and (sometimes) out of interest.
I have been thinking about reinvention a lot lately. I have been watching Madonna concerts on YouTube. I have been watching videos about Impressionism and other art movements. We may think of reinvention as a deliberate conscious act of change, but sometimes it happens less obviously and less consciously. It actually doesn’t matter how ‘willing’ you are to change, over time you will indeed change. The world around you will change too. Everything is in a state of flux.
If you don’t change how you use the tools at your disposal to reflect the you of this moment they won’t continue to work for you. You have to be really honest about what you’re still interested in, and what you continue to do out of habit or social convention. When it comes to reading lists you need to be brutal, you may need to prune quite vigorously. Though you may need to do this on social networks too. Here we might have an additional reticence since some will interpret a defriending or an unfollowing as quite a personal act of rejection. And yet in the same way you have access to obscene amounts of information, you also have endless opportunities for interaction with other people. Some people will be dear friends (for life), others might be casual acquaintances. It is incredibly likely that you will have intense and meaningful moments with other people online that will not outlive their original contexts. I have noticed this particularly in my MOOC course interactions.
If you are too bogged down in your blue period, you may never reach your rose period. You have to make room for new things in your life. As it stands I am now using The Old Reader as my Google Reader replacement and it currently only has four subscriptions in it. Although I enjoyed Google Reader as a tool, I appreciate this opportunity to do a bit of a personal reset.