HNDR.ME

A nerd pretending to be a software engineer.

When Noise Gets Too Much

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The World Wide Web is an amazing thing. The amount of resources available on it is enormous. You can learn just about anything you can think of with these resources. Recently though, I noticed that amount of low quality content is getting way a lot higher.

Until a few months ago, I collected almost everything I can get my hands on. I bookmarked every programming article I found that looked interesting, even though I barely know anything about the topic. When major tech conferences like Microsoft’s Build, Google I/O, or Pycon were held, I scanned the videos for titles that looked interesting and downloaded a bunch of them. I saved a bunch of videos from channels like Marakana or Google Tech Talks. I downloaded every single free programming books that people that people on sites like HN or reddit, even though I don’t know what the book talk about that much. As you may have guessed, only a very small portion of those bookmarks ever get visited for the second time, I barely watched any of the videos I downloaded, and most of the ebooks I downloaded never even got extracted from the zip archive.

Up until Google announced the plan to shutdown Google Reader, I subscribed to a bunch of tech blogs, blogs like Techcrunch, or Gizmodo. Every morning, I would have 700+ new items on the reader, and I would scanned through all of them, click on what I find interesting, and mark everything else as read. It lasted for several months, but not only it was tedious, I started to realize many of their article are low-quality link-bait, not fact-based articles that fishes for stupid fan-boy arguments. I don’t want to link to them for examples, but I am sure they aren’t hard to find.

So, when Google Reader was shut down, I moved to feedly, and I took the chance to clean up my feeds. I use RSS only to keep updated with some blogs of people whose writing I find interesting. Most of the are only updated occasionally, and I find myself reading almost every single one of them. The only tech blogs I follow are few that I find still publish actual professional news and pieces I enjoy reading, like The Verge. I keep up with their updates selectively through channels like Twitter and/ or Facebook instead of trying to keep up with everything they published.

Same case with the stuffs I kept on my hard drive. I deleted every videos and books that I find not too relevant because of the technology changes, or those that I found not too interesting after I went through them briefly.

It felt great. I feel much more relaxed. During the time I was living with these noises, I felt obligated to read or watch them. Now, not so much. Nowadays, I get my fix from channels such as Twitter, some highly-curated mailing-lists, also the top news on sites like HN and Reddit. I also keep my reading list with Pocket, and keep track of my projects with Trello. It feels good not having to manage them myself (Yes, I know that these cloud services could be shut down any time, but I really hope they won’t for anytime soon).

It turns out, there is a downside to the abundance of information these days.

Edit: Changed on my opinion on the news site.

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