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The Need To Reduce Information Overload

Posted by on Jun 30, 2010

I’m someone who loves getting as much information as possible. Y’all know how I’ve touted that I subscribe to more than 200 blogs, and that, because I speed read, I can get through a heck of a lot of information.

Information Overload

However, I can’t get through it all, and I admit that there are times when I fall behind that I pop open the reader and see well over 500 titles in a category and think “there’s just no way I’m getting through all of that.” Y’all know that’s a bunch of RSS feeds!

What I do then is look for titles that seem intriguing, take a quick look, see what’s compelling, and if nothing is then I move onto the next one. I have no real idea what I might be missing, and my mind doesn’t care. As a matter of fact, sometimes I actually look at a high number of posts and feel like I can’t breathe.

Last night I was going through a large number once again, and came across this one titled Are You Becoming A Fat, Lazy Blogger written by Tom Sinfield of Standout Blogger. As I read the post, I saw myself in it, someone being overwhelmed by information to the point of being paralyzed sometimes. The paralysis for me is deciding I’m not reading at that moment, yet unsure just what I should do next. And that’s not a good way to go.

So, I’ve made an interesting decision. I’ve decided that I’m going to trim my list down to around 100, and that will be that. Now, some of this is pretty easy. I know I’ll be keeping almost every blog that’s in my category of “friends”, and I’ll be keeping almost every blog in the category of “folks I know”; how’s that for category titles? Those will be the first two I’ll go through because some of those folks aren’t blogging anymore, and I’ll know who they are pretty quickly.

The thing is, right now those account for about 55 blogs. I know for sure that 10 will be gone pretty quickly, but I’m hoping to eliminate at least 20 from this group. That will allow me to easier go through the rest to figure out what I want to keep. I know I’m keeping my news feeds, which don’t actually count as blogs, but I’m counting them towards my 100.

What’s my ultimate goal, other than the number? I subscribe to a ton of internet marketing blogs. The thing is, not only are there a lot of those folks, but many of them aren’t offering me anything new or substantial. I almost hate to go there, but few of them are teaching me anything new on how to make money. And, since that’s the focus of those blogs, supposedly, I need to weed through them to get to what I need.

I also subscribe to a lot of SEO blogs, because it’s something I do, but truth be told, these days it’s more about theory than anything ground breaking, and I find myself disagreeing with what I read more often than finding anything new I can use. I think those blogs are great for someone who’s new to it, but I’ve been doing it for almost 4 years now; I’m past a lot of it.

And there are other types of blogs that wouldn’t interest anyone else but me; well, I’ll add “probably”, and leave it at that. In any case, it’s time to reduce and refine.

Anyone else feeling overwhelmed? As Tom said, it might be time for an information diet; who’s with us? By the way, Tom’s wife is close to having a baby, so pop over there and give him some love.

Create your free baby web page today!

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Very. With me it’s not just blogs but flickr and Internet forums. Twitter adds a lot of information on a daily basis. I favorite a lot and get back to them when I can. Well, that number can get overwhelming very fast if I do not go through them daily.

It is the Information Superhighway but at times I need to get off it or feel like I have been run over.
.-= Scott Thomas´s last blog ..June Recap =-.

June 30th, 2010 | 10:13 AM

We’re in the same ballpark, Scott. I went through all my feeds last night and I’m down to 104; I figure that’s close enough to 100. 🙂

June 30th, 2010 | 10:21 AM

No,Mitch, I am well within manageable limits. I keep trimming my list of blogs to read to a strict quid pro quo arrangement. You read mine, and I shall read and comment on yours.
.-= Rummuser´s last blog ..More Is Good- =-.

June 30th, 2010 | 11:13 AM

Not a bad arrangement, Rummuser. It’s actually a smart way to go; I’m not always so smart, though.

June 30th, 2010 | 11:47 AM

I’m not even close to you in terms of online content, but I know the feeling. I’ve even felt that way with magazine subscriptions. I’m too busy to read one and before I know it, another one shows up, and I’m thinking, “I thought this was a monthly. Why am I getting it every other day?” I guess no matter how much we thirst for information, it’s really like water: too much and we can drown in it. (Wow, that was profound.) (I was going to say “deep,” but that would be pushing it.)
.-= Charles Gulotta´s last blog ..What Is It Good For =-.

June 30th, 2010 | 10:08 PM

Oh yeah, I hadn’t even thought about the magazines. I now subscribe to only 2, PC World & Discover. Been reading Discover for almost 18 years now, after Nova went out of circulation & they transferred me over.

June 30th, 2010 | 10:17 PM

Oh yeah, I’m always learning about a zillion things at once.
.-= Carolee´s last blog ..Booted By Blogger………… =-.

June 30th, 2010 | 10:21 PM

And it has to be driving your head bonkers! 🙂

July 1st, 2010 | 12:03 AM

I agree with your comment on recycled information. I read the same things time and time again but presented in a different way in Internet Marketing, I have lost count of the amount of times I have said to myself I know that already!

Information overload – thats a common online disease especially in email marketing, it is so easy to transmit large amounts of data, it becomes a lot harder to go through it

Ive no idea how you can get through so many blogs though, I struggle with just a few
.-= Peter Davies´s last blog ..Reasons Why Email Marketing is Better Than Print Advertising =-.

July 1st, 2010 | 4:39 AM

Peter, I just work my way through it one step at a time, in order. That “need to know” thing can be overwhelming. 🙂

July 1st, 2010 | 11:54 AM

This sounds really good. I agree sometimes information and can cause a toothache. I love reading and commenting, a kind of 21st century hobby for me.

July 2nd, 2010 | 12:15 AM

I think we all do, Robert, but sometimes we don’t know our limits.

July 2nd, 2010 | 4:15 PM

Well, aside from the one with this post in it, I have one other tab open at the moment – my feed reader, and it tells me that I have 356 feeds still to read! That’s a hell of a lot, far too many. What I usually do is read the ones that always interest me, first (which seem to be a funny blog by a doctor called ‘doc grumpy’ – he also writes the ONLY twitter feed I read as I don’t have a twitter of my own and don’t want one) most of the bloggers who have a very individual style (yourself included, btw) and who, particularly like to include humour in some form in their writing, and also some techno/how to feeds which I’m addicted to. Then I move on to the people I read regularly and who comment in my blog and in whose blogs I comments. After that, I do the same as you and click on titles that get my interest.

I regularly and frequently reduce my number of feeds but it does go up because I’m also constantly finding new blogs of interest. What I tend to do is add the feeds so that I can get back to them when I’ve more time or more concentration, then I’ll think – hey, what did I add this one for? Or – this one’s good! And delete or keep accordingly.

But yeah, as you say, sometimes there’s an information overload. Like you, I go into the reader and am just overwhelmed by everything and then I will read nothing. What I do find helps at those times, if I don’t have the energy to sort through them, is I select either ‘mark as read all items’ or ‘mark as read all items older than one day’. It means that I miss a lot, certainly, but it also means that when I return, there is only the very newest to read and of course not everyone updates every day.

Do you have a graph in your reader, as I have in mine, that charts which blogs are frequent or infrequent posters? I find that really helpful. There’s also a graph that shows me my own reading habits!

I try to avoid blogs that never update more often than every few weeks and equally try to avoid ones that update several times a day. And I cannot for the life of me get to grips with people who put in public blogs that really should only be for their family to see and in which they share the most mundane things in their life. They bug me!

Anyway – be well. I hope you can cut down on those that bug you too!
.-= Val´s last blog ..Birdy News and Wordy News =-.

July 2nd, 2010 | 8:16 AM

Hi Val,

No, I don’t have any graphs in my reader; that sounds interesting. However, at this point I’ve whittled down to 104 feeds, and that will suffice for awhile. I did let go of some folks I knew because they hadn’t written anything in 3 months or longer, and I figured that meant they’re not quite serious about blogging so I wouldn’t be missing much. But I also let go of some blogs with multiple writers who put out 5 or more blog posts a day; just no way to keep up with that much content, and that many different personalities as well.

July 2nd, 2010 | 4:18 PM

I fave been feeling very over whelmed lately & guilty that I don’t have the time I use to make it around to everyone’s blog or even blog myself. lol I hope I’m forgiven & that I’m on your list of friends.

July 4th, 2010 | 11:52 PM

Of course, Rose. You see what I’ve done based on this post; had to whittle stuff way down to at least be able to breathe a little bit.

July 5th, 2010 | 12:02 AM