When Yale librarian Rutherford Rogers said “We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge,” he could have been talking about Chris Schroeder. In a speech at the Specialized Information Publishers Association (SIPA) conference recently, Schroeder, CEO of Health Central Network, said RSS feeds are a great way to keep up with what’s new in your field. He then showed a slide of his own RSS feed inbox, and noted that it had 2,000 items awaiting his attention.
Mr. Schroeder, I have news for you. If you have 2,000 unread items in your RSS feed, it is anything BUT an ideal way of getting information. Over-subscribing to free content via RSS feeds is an invitation to information overload disaster – equivalent to getting a Sunday New York Times delivered to your door every day of the year.
Schroeder and many other people I know subscribe to so many data sources, their RSS feeds deliver hundreds or thousands of items a week – more than they could ever hope to read. I believe Mr. Schroeder either over-estimates his own need for information or is unable to distinguish between what he needs to know vs. what he would like to know.
These days, more information is published online every 24 hours than you could read in five years. The key to managing it is to be more selective, not less. So ruthlessly unsubscribe to e-zines, RSS feeds, etc. until you get only what you absolutely need.
Even then, you won’t have time to read even a small fraction of what you get. But at least your inbox will be somewhat under control.[Ed. Note: There’s no doubt you need to be super-selective when deciding what is valuable – and what’s a time stealer. Learn how to take control of your life – and even create time for yourself – right here.
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