Selective reading

I’m currently listening to some old episodes of Net@Night, one of the TWiT stable of podcasts, and Leo Laporte was talking about feed readers. The episode is about a year old now, and even back then he was discussing the fact that everyone gets their news from Twitter, they choose a few key sites to visit every now and then, and that having a news reader is just too much information.

In fact, one particular line of thinking he had made me stop in my tracks. People wanted to have all the information, they wanted to collect everything, but now they’re starting to realise they just can’t do it.

That’s me! I want everything! I collect everything! That’s why I’m listening to episodes that are a year old.

So, Leo says he’s not really using a feed reader anymore, and simply because Leo said it, that means I shouldn’t be either. But I’m not sure I’m ready to give it up.

In our Sidepodcast community, a couple of people have recently said that they no longer check the news, they rely on what is being linked to within the comments. This is all well and good, and very flattering to the community, but if we all stopped doing that, there would be no links in the comments at all. Someone has to be going through all the feeds, don’t they?

The conversation on N@N slid over to podcasting, with Leo and Amber suggesting that downloads are always going to be an option but in this day and age, for someone throwing so much information at their listeners (and Leo should know about that!) the best option is to do live streaming. That way people can dip in and out at their own leisure, see what’s happening, and if they’re interested in it.

The important news will always come to the surface, it cycles round, a little like watching your Twitter stream. One of your friends is bound to tweet that big breaking news story eventually.

I just can’t reconcile this in my head. I know I don’t have enough time to consume everything I want, but I’m not ready to give up control yet.

6 thoughts on “Selective reading

  1. Great article. I agree about the feed reader – it suits blogs and occasionals better, because if you try and grab news from it you become a slave to a ’slash and burn’ system and it’s no fun 😦

    One question though…

    How am I supposed to listen to live streams at work though? The whole point of podcasts is that I use my own bandwidth obtaining them, right?

    Also, this would not work on an MP3 player if there was no wi-fi…

  2. I think this is totally backwards. I like listening to the radio, but I much prefer podcasts becauase I can pick and choose when and where I want to listen to them. I listened to a 1 hour podcast yesterday over 12 hours because I kept getting interrupted. How would I be able to listen live to something like that?

  3. How would I be able to listen live to something like that?

    Well, exactly. I guess Leo wasn’t suggesting that the live stream replaces podcasts, as there’s always room for portable media.

    But, I guess as he’s almost 24/7 now, he gets the feeling people would do what they’ve got to do, then sit down and dip in to the live stuff and they wouldn’t miss out on anything because it all gets covered more than once.


    You’re right, it is quite backwards. And the same applies to the Twitter thing. I can catch up with my feed reader throughout the day, but Leo was saying we might get to a point where we just tune in to Twitter and you’ll get the gist of the news.

  4. so, i missed this nugget of information on N@N, because i… tend to dip in and out of it. the best way of explaining it, is i have x2 levels of importance to gathering information:

    – must not miss
    – missable

    so from leo, i download all episodes of macbreak and try to catch all of them. if i get behind i do leave them, but that isn’t the intention. that’s “must not miss” content.

    also from leo i listen/watch net@night, but only dip into a live stream when i catch a tweet from amber saying it’s on, and i have nothing else on the go. that’s “missable” content.

    the parade lap was envisaged to be missable content, in my head – if you have nothing to do before the race, tune in. but you won’t miss anything vital. miss f1 debrief though, and we’ll refer people to it if they’re repeating information that we’ve already discussed.

    of course that’s how i categorise it, other people may do exactly the opposite.

  5. @mr c I envisage parade lap as missinle too. But of course as you say others may be the other way around.

    Funnily enough it often ends up being more about the comunity which makes it a third kind of thing.

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