Last week, I wrote a thing about too many inputs. One of the concerns was RSS, an area where I sometimes feel I’m just swiping “read” to process to zero as quickly as possible.
The key to RSS is being mindful of your subscriptions and only allowing those that are truly valuable to occupy your feed reader. If you’re finding more irrelevance than value, it’s time to unsubscribe.
One of the feeds I struggle with most is Lifehacker.
I have a love-hate relationship with Lifehacker. The site contains both a lot of great information and a lot of useless information.
Lifehacker is a high volume feed. I’d estimate they post between fifty and a hundred times a day. This frequency makes for a difficult subscribing decision.
I want to be more productive, and I want all those tips and tricks, and I want to astound people with my wealth of brilliant geek knowledge.
But do I need to know that you can use mayonnaise to clean crayon off your walls?
Maybe I’m just biased against food hacks, but I now see where Merlin is coming from. It’s gotten to the point where whenever I see new Lifehacker posts in Reeder, I know I can just swipe, swipe, swipe them as read and knock fifteen or twenty off my unread count.
I’ve struggled to come up with a solution, because a few times a day there actually is something worth reading on Lifehacker. I’ve followed the site via RSS for years, and I’ve been following it on Twitter since I first signed up for an account.
The Lifehacker Twitter tweets every single post, so following in both places is extraneous. It comes down to the lesser of two evils: do I continue to swipe, swipe, swipe in Reeder to maintain a clean Twitter feed, or do I continue to flick past endless Lifehacker tweets to make RSS significantly more manageable?
The Twitter feed allows me to be more selective in which articles I choose to read. If a headline catches my interest, I can bookmark it or send it to Instapaper. Otherwise, I just keep scrolling. Compare this to RSS, wherein every item must be processed one way or another.
I think it’s time for Lifehacker to go the way of Facebook for me. The percentage of relevant posts has gotten much too small, and when it comes to tech news, I prefer to read dedicated sites or real people anyway.
I’ve unsubscribed from Lifehacker on RSS and Twitter. I did, however, add it to my News list on Twitter. I only check my lists every other day or so, which allows me to keep a relaxed eye on the site while freeing myself from its information firehose.
I think Lifehacker is best treated as a database. It contains a wealth of useful information, but most of it isn’t useful either A: to me, or B: right now. Rather, if I ever find myself thinking, “Jeez, I’ve got all this mayonnaise and my walls are covered in crayon”, I’ll go look up a solution on Lifehacker.
Reading Lifehacker on a daily basis is like reading an encyclopedia from cover to cover: nonsensical. It’s more practical and efficient to look up something specific when I need it, instead of wasting my time reading about things that don’t apply to me.