The Bottomless Feed and the Need for Now Context

“I’ve punted on trying to catch up on 19,000+ updated posts in Bloglines. I don’t have the time, or interest, in trying to sift through them all. I picked out a few blogs from a few categories that I’m absolutely interested in and skimmed through them and then marked all as read.” – Ed Costello

I do the same everyday – independent of vacations. There’s no reason to feel uncomfortable coming back from a 10-day vacation and not reading every page of the daily newspapers you missed or watching every minute of the evening news you missed, the same applies to blogs.

So, a couple of notions we all need to get good and comfortable with:

  1. There’s always more to do. I’m not big on stressing out how much work there is to do – work scales, time doesn’t. Work is persistent, time (despite what Dali says) isn’t.
  2. There’s always more to read. If every person you know, would like to know, are interested in, or is connected to you in the slightest way is publishing on any regular interval – there’s too much to keep up with. Especially if you’re also publishing and attempting to accomplish something during the day.

Welcome to the Post-Scarcity world.

We don’t yet have the tools that can actually, really help us. The aggregation and filtering tools we have are extremely simple. In my experience, they all filter the most basic, single-dimension attributes; publisher, date, or some notion of category/tag. Nothing more complex.

The problem we all have yet to solve is deceptively simple:
What should I pay attention to right now?

There’s a reasonable chance that this exact post at this exact time is what I should be writing. Some much much smaller chance says this is the exact time you should be reading this exact post. Yet, here we are.

The best tool we have to determine exactly what we should be paying attention to right now is….our guts, our insecurities, obsessions, fixations, interpersonal relationships, and Google.

The majority of the information we receive during any given day is FYI at best. No action required. Depending on your definition of spam – it can probably be immediately deleted. There’s always one Best Next Action out there – finding it will only become more of a challenge.