How much time do you spend actually reading blogs?
Yeah, self-serving question – hear me out here.
Justin Kownacki and I are offering a challenge, between July 19th and July 25th, for anyone interested to measure the size of their personal libraries. this came out of a discussion we had about why people share, what they share, and where the perceived benefit is in being in either position; the sharer and the receiver.
We subscribe to blogs almost on an autonomic basis now – last time I counted, before this challenge, I had about 60 blogs on my reader, only three of which I could identify immediately. Why did I add them? What process have I used to flush low-value streams in the past? How can we streamline our intake, and not miss out on high quality content that comes up every so often in the more esoteric feeds we’re aware of?
More appropriately, how much benefit to our weekly routine is the act of consuming all of this content?
In order to measure this – or at least to bring attention to it, even if measurement is difficult, we’d like to offer you a challenge. Here are the guidelines:
- Mark All As Read right now – This isn’t a week for catching up, it’s a week for staying on task, or getting ahead, with your reading.
- Set aside some time every day to read. Maybe it’s an hour before work; maybe during lunch; maybe just before bed. Maybe all of these.
- Assess which physical media you’ll be including in this experiment. Magazines, newspapers, news television – whatever you include normally, be sure to add that to your planned list.
- Catalogue your current content commitments. Even if its just a number, write out the amount of media you’re planning to attempt to keep up with. For example, my week will consist of [x] blogs in Google Reader, [x] hours of news television/radio, [x] podcasts and [x] print media.
- Mark the time, if you like, by reposting these guidelines to your blog if you have one. Letting people in on the process is a big part of any experiment.
During The Week:
- Actually read everything. Getting to “Reader Zero” is a noble task, but it requires that you actually read everything to assess its value.
- Resist the urge to subscribe to new blogs, just for this week. Bookmark new sources for review later, by all means, but consider that adding the commitment to new sources in mid-experiment changes the nature of the work.
- Take notes, if it helps. By all means, keep a running log of the experiment – I’ll be using #ReadItAll on Twitter to mark my observations.
Wrap-Up (Post experiment):
Now is the time to anti-curate your findings. Which sources turned out to be most useful? Consider promoting them or sharing their content. Which ones turned out to be more detriment than benefit? Unsubscribe immediately. Which ones showed mixed results? Unsubscribe, but bookmark for later review.
Mark the fall-out from your experiment. How many blogs did you start with, how many have you kept? How many bookmarks did you make, finding interesting streams for review? What has this experiment revealed about your reading – and sharing – habits?
Mark your experiences with a follow-up post on Monday, July 26th.
The real goal of the week here is two-fold: to increase understanding of how much we can reasonably consume in a week, and to ensure that we’re consuming media that we both want and need during that time, rather than what we feel we ought to.
Bonus round: Self-examination.
Part of the methodology behind this experiment comes from the patterns Justin and I agreed on noticing in how, and what, people share with others. We’re not trying to discourage sharing, or speculative subscription. That said, what’s beneficial should stay around to provide lasting improvement and information, while uninteresting, or less useful items piling up and frightening you away from your reading should be discarded.
What do you think? Are you in? Join us in examination for #ReadItAll week!
Update: Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins posted a very insightful explaination on SiliconAngle about why #ReadItAll isn’t for him – go check it out!