The Love of Things

Of all of the Things in 10 Things @ SPL, Things 2 and 3 are probably the ones I would perish without. Slight exaggeration perhaps, but there's a kernel of truth in there somewhere.

Thing 2, I have a crush on you. RSS feeds have turned my web experience into something altogether different. When I first discovered Bloglines and started subscribing to RSS feeds from my favorite blogs, I was starry-eyed and giddy. Suddenly the world of information was a shiny new object, resplendent with New! Current! Stuff! delivered straight to my virtual doorstep. I kept adding feeds, and then adding some more, and then even more. After topping off at 150 or so, I held steady for awhile, frequently checking my Bloglines account to see if there was anything new to read.

As with any crush, the heart-pounding, clammy-palmed excitement wanes after time, and what you're left with is melancholy dismay that perhaps, maybe just perhaps, this crush is not The One. You end up spending too much time vegged out on the couch, forgetting to brush your teeth, with piles of newspapers and magazines strewn across the floor. Translated into words that actually have something to do with RSS, it probably means you've got a case of Information Overload and it's time to get rid of some feeds.

Librarians, pay attention here. I know you talk about not being able to keep up with everything. But you know what you are good at? Weeding. So do it. If you find you aren't reading new feeds, get rid of those that you added on a whim and have chosen to ignore. It's no biggie. If you miss out on a news item, or celebrity gossip, or your favorite library blog's newest post, or a list of the Library's new DVDs, chances are you'll find the information via another path. You're librarians; you'll be able to find it if you need it.

Once you've tweaked and tinkered with your RSS subscriptions and you find a number you're content with (for me, it's the magic number 90!), you may just decide to stick around to see if this RSS thing develops into anything long lasting. My crush on RSS has developed into something a little more steady, but I'm not afraid to ask Mr. Bloglines to change--by ditching those feeds that I've grown disinterested in and adding the occasional new feed.

Thing 3, Instant Messaging, is also one of my can't-live-withouts. I've been using IM in various iterations since 1997. Over the past few years, I've become a lousy email correspondent. I communicate with most of my friends over IM; it comes in especially handy with my friends in the UK when we don't want to spend any money on long distance charges.

Text messaging is another one of my preferred communication methods. I've been texting so much that the paint on my keypad has worn off. When I'm away from a computer, I often use Google's SMS service to get local information such as addresses and phone numbers of businesses. It saves me the embarrassment of calling the Reference Desk (which, by the way, I have done) to ask for the address of that one Costa Rican restaurant on Milwaukee Ave.


rich said...

yes, i'm with you on the importance of weeding. anyway, i find that many of the celebrity librarian bloggers out there blog about the same news, events, ideas so chances are if you're subscribed to a handful you won't be missing anything. i need to start using google sms. i've been using google 411 and that also saves me the embarrassment of calling the ref desk, which i've done as well :)

The Skokie Ten said...