No matter how you feel about current events, you should agree that getting the news is important in one way or another.1 From a technologist’s perspective, the technology landscape changes so quickly that it only makes sense to have a way to quickly see and digest news items. The benefit of such things is two-fold: to educate yourself and to be able to educate others about what is current and what is to come. How you personally use such information is your prerogative, but for me it was always about sharing.
Historically (meaning in college, the start of this blog, and in the days of Google Reader), I used RSS feeds to aggregate, digest, and share information. When Google Reader was shuttered (RIP) and other options appeared, I worked to move most of what Google Reader did for me into Twitter through a list called TechBloggers that is still alive and kicking, though its scope has widened over the years. Between scope creep and noise, TechBloggers has become difficult to keep up with at times.
Nevertheless, with my recent move away from Twitter in favor of sanity, I was left with the chore of dealing with this conundrum again. As the possible news items of which we want to stay abreast multiply, how do we keep track without allowing the process to become something akin to inbox-zero neuroses? In short, curation is key.
I have returned to a highly specific set of RSS feeds and Email Newsletters by which to retrieve news and stay entertained. By “highly specific”, I mean I have severely limited the number of news feeds I subscribe to, only read deeper the things that I believe are of value, only save a select few items to read later (on Instapaper), and ignore (in the form of a “Mark As Read” button) all the other cruft that still makes it through.
In addition to RSS feeds, I mentioned email newsletters which are becoming a trend as more people figure out how to wrangle the beast that is email. The nice thing is if I don’t have time for a newsletter, it can be deleted. Supplementarily, I use apps, such as NextDraft and Apple News, for the sake of variety.
The best part of such things is my own ability to change it at a moment’s notice. While talking about such things here seems par for the course of this site, changing any of the above-described affects no one but me and that’s OK.
Perhaps you only watch the weather channel, but that is still news, especially during times of climate change.↩
Did the Internet community peak at bookmarks? Asked in a different and perhaps more complete way: just as technologies like RSS and email in their purest forms are hard to beat even as technology marches forward, what better technology exists to keep track of information on the ever-expanding Internet than bookmarks? Taken a step further, what better way to share the bookmarked information than a site of your own? As such, I‘ve been reading, which is why I write now.
Working in and having a passion for libraries, I am struck by the fact that the way bookmarks work in the physical world is not directly analogous to bookmarks in the digital world. Bookmarks in the digital world are instead like dog-eared pages or highlighted passages; if you think of the Internet as a single tome, that is. In any case, anything that moves you to deface a book should probably be shared or become immortalized in some other way than just a reference for a future version of yourself.