Improving reading habits

Today, Sunday, on the mailman day, I decided to change my reading habits.

You’d certainly laugh if I told you how many mailing lists, blogs, and IRC channels I try to follow (won’t include IM networks here as I don’t really read them asynchronously). What I look for is pretty obvious: I want to exchange volume for quality.

The first thing I’m doing is unsubscribing from all high-traffic lists I’m part of. The reason is clear: one hundred messages a day can’t possibly be all interesting. I’m not saying there are no interesting posts among these, of course. But with such a vibrant community of followers, a few smart readers usually bring up the most interesting discussions in more selective formats. I’ll track these instead.

For the same reason, I’m unsubscribing from most feed aggregators. Planet and similars are a great way to subscribe to many feeds quickly, but let’s face it.. how many posts in an aggregator with lots of feeds are interesting to a single individual? While getting off from them, I’m selectively peaking the feeds that interest me and subscribing to each.

Then, for the not-so-high volume sources, I’m checking the last 5 posts or so (or days, for IRC channels). Anything that hasn’t had information worth tracking will be phased out too. Interesting topics eventually will find their way to the sources I’ll still follow.

I want to read less, to read more. I want to go faster through the queue of pending books, and also follow a wider variety of topics with less pain.

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