Rapture in Everything

Tackling the information overload


Probably everyone who uses the web for more than just reading mail and reading a few websites every day has encountered the same problem: the Internet is big. Like, really big. For virtually any topic you take interest in there are more articles than we can handle; there is ton gigabyte upon gigabyte of images, videos and texts we’d love to read but never will have enough time for. And then there’s the noise – for every useful bit of information we need there are a dozen blog posts that just get in our way of finding it.

Then we finally find a few sites that we like and start following them, eager to consume anything they might throw at us. We find a couple more, add them all to our RSS readers and end up with a luxury problem: there’s so much great content, already filtered and aggregated from the ‘webs, and we’re drowning again. And more often than not, we cultivate a nagging urge in our heads – there are so many new items in my reader, I have to read them all!

And God help you if you join Twitter.

Seeing that this strategy can’t work out in the long run, I started looking for options. There’s no way I’d stop being interested in diverse joys the ‘net provides, so I had to find something that works well.

Then, around the time I had decided to join Twitter passively just to stalk some people, I resolved not to even try catching up on everything. I’d open Twitter when I feel like it, ‘star’ the links I want to follow up later and I’m done with it. I don’t know if ignorance is bliss, but it sure can alleviate the load on your brain and free time.

Then I realized I might just do this for most sources of information, discovered IFTTT and started working on a plan. There are three main categories of things I intend to do:

  1. Read stuff later. When I find something, anywhere on the ‘net from any source, I want to be able to save it for later reading if I don’t have the time or mood for it right now.
  2. Read stuff now. When I have a 5 minute tea break, I want to spend it reading something great, not looking for it. This requires a way of* keeping track* of articles I found earlier, navigating them to find something that suits my current mood, and if possible, adding new articles automatically.
  3. Return to some stuff again later. Every now and then I find a real gem or a source that can come in handy sometime later. Therefore I need a way to organize my knowledge base and integrate my notes, data and resource links somewhere where I can search in them effectively. Knowing I *surely stored that link in a file somewhere *usually doesn’t help much.

After some fiddling around and trying various approaches, I think I’ve finally found my solution. I’ll get around to describing it in a later post.

(Turns out that to swim in the sea of data, you just need to ignore the water.)