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Data Consumption

January 4, 2011

by — Posted in Personal Writing, Technology

Today I got into a discussion on Facebook about using Twitter or RSS for new consumption. let’s get a little more specific and say Twitter versus Google Reader. At first I jumped the gun and went into full old school troll mode misunderstanding the question and not reading the source material. I went into how RSS is not dead and Twitter more than likely would not work. I then went into a read the source material and clarified.

It turns out this friend consumes media the exact opposite of what I do – something geeks fail to understand properly. Listening to his real question and methods his course might be the correct one. When I use Google Reader I get a few hundred stories a day. I open the Google Reader page or the app on my phone, I skim the headlines in a few minutes, read the interesting stories and then mark all the stories as read. I do star some stories to read later, but this is maybe 2-3 stories a week these days. With Twitter on the other hand, I do less skimming and more real reading of what people are saying – they did manage to fit it into 140 characters so it’s the least I can do. I can get through 100 tweets in the time it takes me to read 500 items in Google Reader.

My friend is the exact opposite, he skims his Twitter feed and only reads what grabs his eye. When he opens Google Reader he reads every single story. This approach would take me hours to get through all the stories. So while he still skims and selects news – the medium matters. It is also very interesting to see how different people approach services.

I would think for whatever primary news source you have, you will have to make a choice. You will either have to skim – or keep a small select group of news sources. So how do you deal with keeping up to date, while not burying yourself in the amount of news you consume?

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