Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
November 25, 2006 1:39 PM

Too Many Blogs - Too Many Podcasts

When is enough? I was just looking at my Google Reader and then zipped over to iTunes when I noticed some new Podcasts has been published... and then it struck me: how will I ever consume everything that interests me?

When I think about that, I'm reminded of a day, many years ago, when I was in a very large used book store. I was on the second level looking through the poetry section (back then I was a huge fan of Charles Bukowski and Bill Shields - still am). There were tons of authors, books and chap books that I had never heard of. There were even more that I had heard of, but never had the chance to read. It felt like the moldy-stenched store started to spin around me when I suddenly realized that I'll never get to read everything I should in my lifetime. No chance. Plus, there were tons of published authors with something to say and they all wound up on a shelf in a used book store.

As Blogs and Podcasting take hold and more people start producing content, it seems like as the days roll on, I'm falling even further behind on Blog postings and Podcasts. There's no way to add more time to a day as more independent producers of content come online. Something has got to give.

The river of news in my Google Reader and smart playlist in iTunes titled, Podcasts, are simply not manageable. I know Steve Rubel over at Micro Persuasion, either deletes all feeds every now and again only to rebuild it based off of what's important now, or he'll just hit the "mark all as read" button and start again. Those are both not solutions to the challenge. There are simply too many Blogs and too many Podcasts... and yet, I wonder how many great new people will join the fray in the coming years?

I've spoken often about Digital Darwinism. The idea that those who are of relevance will rise to the top (people will subscribe to them) and those that don't will simply be posting in the wind (lots of words, no readers). I'm hoping that those who are stricken with Blog (or Pod) fade will actually remove their content from the Web. Let's keep The Tubes clean.

In the meantime, it's a beautiful Saturday afternoon and instead of raking leaves, I'm raking feeds.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Bob Goyetche
    Mitch Joel

    I have to disagree with keeping the tubes clean. I don't think podcasts or blogs that are no longer producing new content should be removed from the net. That content has a value, which isn't usually dimished by the fact that new content isn't being created. Are the old Marx Bros films less funny now because they've all passed on?

    Keep those tubes filthy! This generation and the ones after it will learn history from these tubes.
    It's too bad many of the blogs that were there on big days like 9/11 (like Robert Scoble's : http://scobleizer.com/2006/09/11/my-911-history-was-erased/ ) are no longer around. What left is Scoble describing somewhat what he remembers from what he posted, instead of being able to read the real items.

    Besides, if they aren't producing new content, your RSS reader shouldn't show it to you anyway...

    Reply
  • Posted by Mitch Joel
    Mitch Joel

    "Are the old Marx Bros films less funny now because they've all passed on?"

    No, but my guess is we would not be talking about the Marx Bros. if their movies sucked and nobody watched. They stopped producing content because they died, not because their shtick was bland.

    That being said, your point is well-taken. I can delete feeds from anyone who is not interesting to me or not posting frequently enough.

    I like all of this raw, human emotion as well, but I'm left wondering how I will decide where to put my time as every individual starts producing Blogs and Podcasts?

    Aren't you a little scared?

    Reply
  • Posted by Bernie Goldbach
    Mitch Joel

    It's autumn. We prune outside in autumn so what's wrong with carrying the practise inside as well.

    And when spring comes, we have spring cleaning.

    I've started maintaining three sets of RSS feeds. One's on Bloglines and it's too big for anything except a river of news. One's on FreeNews and it pulls content to my mobile phone--only the first 200 words of posts. Another is Google Reader and I ruthlessly mark things as read so I can start Mondays with a new set of unread posts.

    I don't have the disk space for all the podcasts I'd like to harvest so I have to keep that managed tightly. Since my commute is short, I don't pull down more than 30 hours of podcasts a week. I listen to most of them while cleaning up around the house or walking the dog.

    Sometimes you just have to let things go unread or unheard. That's what vacations are for, right? Get away. Purge when you return. If it's got value, it will reverberate months later.

    Reply
  • Posted by Bob Goyetche
    Mitch Joel

    What Bernie said!

    You have to give yourself permission to miss things. Otherwise, you'll never hear new points of view as you'll depend on the ones you know. Also, as more and more people create content, I think there will be more to learning/entertainment to be had by reading 100 posts by 100 different people than by reading 100 posts from one person.

    Imaging what a great RSS reader that would be, every day, you get 30 random posts from people you don't know - and not get the same people twice. My feeling is you'd end the week probably retaining about as much knowledge, and you'd still know the BIG news stories of the week..

    It sure would level the playing field...

    Reply
  • Posted by Mark
    Mitch Joel

    At one time, Bob and I were subscribed to every Podcast listed on the canadapodcasts.ca directory. At one point, I had 210 active subscriptions and I monitored them all. There was a purpose to that madness - we were on a mission to intimately understand the Canadian Podcast community.

    The exercise taught me many things besides the goings-on of the community. It taught me that I needed to manage the inbound pipe and pace myself. It was easy to drop about 60% of my subscriptions. The rest of the exercise wasn't so easy since I felt a personal connection to many of the shows and their producers/hosts.

    I'm now subscribed to 19 Podcasts and 8 blogs. It's a managable number. I have a number of other Podcasts that are listed in my iTunes library that I'm not subscribed to. Those are the shows that I'll listen to if I have the time and interest after my other shows are up to date.

    Reply
  • Posted by Jason Bedard
    Mitch Joel

    Guilt is probably the true reason for feeling the pressures of unread posts.

    Like, ‘if I don’t keep up with every feed I will loose my advantage of being on the cutting-edge of, industry, news, entertainment, etc’. Or, ‘if I don’t read/listen to my buddy’s content and he asks me what I thought I will feel like a complete prat.’

    The consumption of information through feeds is convenient. Especially with the ability to consume offline, like while doing housework or exercise. However, as convenient as feeds are, it must be remembered that they are only a convenience.

    We can’t possibly consume all the information we would like. Feeds will inevitably go un-consumed. I don’t think this means that one should unsubscribe to all but a few manageable feeds. We must simply learn to consume what we can and forget the rest. Forget and not feel the guilt.

    Possibly a blog/podcast confessional is needed where we can go to repent for clicking “Mark All Read�.

    Reply
  • Posted by Lee Hopkins
    Mitch Joel

    Alas,s this is an age-old (hah!) problem for the digital literati. I am constantly wrestling with my aggregator and have since Day 1; do I remove someone and risk missing a relevant post one day (it not be relevant today, but who knows what client or need I will have tomorrow?).

    'Biting the bullet' and living with the guilt and fear is the only way, I've found; accepting that I *will* miss something of value and importance, but hoping that if I miss it then one of my friends won't and they'll blog about it anyway.

    I remember both Scoble and Seth both posting about 'being first' to publish an item, because it gets you at the front of the google and technorati queue. But surely there is still some magic left in the long tail...

    My good friend Allan Jenkins is similarly in need of help/advice at the moment on this 'rss feed' issue - pls spare him some of your advice if you get the chance (http://allanjenkins.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/12/updated_blogrol.html)

    Reply
  • Posted by Mitch Joel
    Mitch Joel

    Thanks Lee - I'm going to check out what Allan has to say. After listening to FIR, I feel like I know you guys already :)

    Reply
  • Posted by Dave Delaney
    Mitch Joel

    Funny, I'm just doing some digging and came across this post. Funny, because it was before Twitter and the like. How do we keep up these days, eh?

    I didn't know you were a Buk fan Mitch, now I understand why you don't drink. Ha! I'm a big fan too.

    Loved your raking the feeds line. I might have to borrow that some time, with full attribution of course! :D

    Reply
Add a Comment

Please complete all the fields below, including the spam filter (to prove you're not a robot).

  1. Fill in your email address to have your Gravatar photo included with your comment.
  2. Please type the word pixels here:
TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://www.twistimage.com/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/1246