This pretty much sums up what I'm feeling.
I don't use a feed reader. I find that it's too easy to get overwhelmed. Too much data. Too many distractions.
I've been working on setting up the next Search SIG with Dave McClure and noticed that he's been out of pocket. He had not been answering emails. I decided to check his blog to make sure he was still alive. Thankfully he's fine, but then I saw what was going on. He's declared email bankruptcy. Too much input. I never thought of this, and it took me a second, but I understand.
I don't have the same issue with email. For some reason I don't get much at Yahoo. Maybe because of IM and IRC. Email at Brickhouse isn't the primary form of communication. Especially at the SF office. Everyone's two feet away. I do have several email accounts that I have to check regularly. Work. itsbeach, gmail, yahoo. I check Facebook and Twitter often. Twitterific is often on. Yahoo IM and Skype are now always on. Admittedly this is too much. Add the blogs and the articles and the other crap I've convinced myself that I care about (keeping up with startups, competitors, friends, friend's ideas, photos, videos, new technologies, politics, family, local stuff, podcasts, music, the latest and greatest, and on and on). It turns into one giant pogo party across the web and into my head.
Every few months, I clean out the information mess. I unsubscribe as much as possible. But it doesn't last long. my attention inbox fills up pretty fast. I would love a simplicity app.
Jerry Yang (of Yahoo, not the poker player) unveiled a new idea called Inbox 2.0 (or something) at CES earlier this month. This is part of Yahoo's starting point strategy. This is supposed to expand mail into more than mail. Mail is your starting point, so why not cram other stuff into it? Like social network friend updates, IM, news, maps, recommendations, etc... your entire "social graph" and "attention" peodopular plediptions. Why not open that up so others can build apps to expand your mail/starting point experience? I really don't know much about this, but I can hypothesize where it's going. At first, this may sound like a good idea. And, well maybe it is. It's all in the implementation. But this can get messed up pretty fast. Too much data. Yes, filters can be built. Your "graph" has big bubbles for the people and the stuff you care about more and smaller bubbles for the stuff on the fringe, but still. I can see this leading to more "email bankruptcy" pretty fast. I mean your inbox is already too much to deal with... even with filters. It's really information bankruptcy.
I want my starting point to lead me to my ending point as fast as possible. I want to build an app that can handle as much input as possible, but does predictive filtering on the output based on what is important or interesting to me at that moment. I want something that can organize my life stream and all that gets put into it in a way that allows me to recall what I want, when I want it... without much effort. I don't want to miss out, but I want to have a life. A real life. I don't want to feel stress that something missed my attention, but I don't want to be glued to a screen or device. I want to refinance my information with a much lower "interest" rate.
This way I hope I can avoid declaring information bankruptcy.