Information Over Consumption

Random Observation/Comment #285: I used to think life was a series of phases, but now I see I’ve just arbitrarily dissected my life in hindsight to rationalize/justify some of my past decisions.  Presently, I only see my matured body live to explore and discover the wonders of this life.  Maybe this too is a phase…

Over consumption...We are contributing to the largest and ever-growing buffet of knowledge.  Feast your curiosity on a myriad of different topics/themes/interests through your channeled sources.  I’ve created the following table for my daily/weekly information influx habits:

Social Channel Data
Facebook news feed Friend’s random status updates on their adventures and whatever funny thing they’ve found reading their social channels
Twitter feed Following RSS feeds on news and other celebrities
Google News Aggregates all current news in Technology, Science, Business, World, Politics, etc
Techmeme Specifically for tech news, which usually leads to either Engadget or Techcrunch
Reddit front page View all funny/TIL/interesting/ridiculous memes roaming the interwebs
Email subscriptions Mostly useless and ignored deals from different companies that like to spam my inbox. It’s good to see some unread mail so I feel somewhat important.
Youtube subscriptions Watch videos from my favorite youtube sensations like freddiew, EMT, SmarterEveryDay, phillyd, corridordigital, and Rhett&Link. Also providing me a healthy dose of Table tennis matches.
StumbleUpon Stumble across multiple sites and articles (instead of having these pages get posted on a feed). This is great for finding new and funny things people probably haven’t seen in those popular memes (reddit).
TED talk android app Watch a TED talk a day and learn something new. Whether it’s a problem in the world or a miraculous invention, TED talks have always inspired me
500px android app Browse some of the best photos
Oh My Gif! Hilarious gallery of gifs just for a quick laugh Listen to audiobooks (Currently giggling to 50 shades of Grey on the subway)
getAbstract Read 3-5 page synopsises for business and management top sellers – great for short reads of inspiration
Safaribooks Full textbooks in digital form – currently best source to stay in touch with ever-updating technology

Similar to a food pyramid, it is essential to have a  healthy regulation around the amount of information we absorb per day.  Even though we can pretend to understand everything we’ve learned, I think a larger percentage of information is being lost due to the large amount of data being jammed into all our senses.

And here lies the main problem – most of these tools are used as a one-way consumption feed for us to gloss over and judge whether or not to click onto those links. We’re passing judgment on interesting stories every day based on their headlines or thumbnails.

Three things can help us fix this:

1.       Read fewer in breadth, but more in depth.  Every day, try to limit yourself to 10 topics. Let yourself dive deeper into those topics and read in more detail about one particular thing instead of skimming through 30 things.  When you start reading in more detail, at least the imprint of this information is stored longer and you’re not being overwhelmed by the large amount of random content.

2.       Contribute to the discussion. Similar in concept to getting more in-depth with the article, make sure you read the comments behind the article and contribute your own opinions about the subject. Make sure you maintain a level of disbelief and skepticism when reading things on the internet and build your own argument about the subject.

3.       Reflect on what you’ve learned. Take 15 minutes per day to write 3 things you’ve learned the day before. I usually do this because 1) it helps me come up with random topics of conversations with significant others, 2) it tests how well I can explain 30 minutes of absorbing internet facts into a paragraph of concise ideas, and 3) it improves my memory of things that have happened chronologically throughout the day.

We are in full control of our personal information consumption. It’s never a bad thing to learn new things, but is it always useful to just read and absorb this information without some reciprocity?  Be a producer where possible and try to use the information you’ve read to grow yourself instead of just showing cute pictures of cats.  Choose your information diet wisely and look to reduce the influx of content so you can live a richer life outside the Internet.

~See Lemons Learn In Moderation