Blog reading is a waste of time. So is microblog reading and tumbleblog reading.
Let’s tale a look at what I get from each sub-genre.
I subscribe to about 100 blogs via Google Reader. On a good day, I read about one third of those and that still took 1+ hours of my time.
Most of the information I gleened from blogs was unrelated to me. Topics like how to do things better, faster, in an odd way. Topics about art, law, photography, and economics that were far too obscure scrolled down the screen too often.
In theory, I found all of the topics to which I subscribe interesting. In practice, I simply didn’t need to know 99% of the stuff I read. It’s not just that I didn’t need to know it. The information made me think I constantly needed to improve, rearrange or change my own habits. Not good.
Solution: Limit my blog reading to: friends’ blogs, local info and direct interests (golf and law). Although, law will be highly focused.
Same overindulgence of information here as with blogs. I don’t need to know who is complaining about what all of the time.
At one point a couple years ago I was using Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku and a couple other microblogging sites simultaneously. That’s insanely annoying to admit, let alone practice.
I check Twitter while I’m bored, walking around places. I see this as an admission that I find people’s tweets more compelling than either my surroundings or the people I am actually with. That’s not, in fact, the case.
Solution: Only follow friends I’ve met in person.
These are the worst. At least with Twitter the user has to create something semi-original. Tumblr allows users to post scraps (pictures, quotes, videos) without adding anything to them. I’ll admit that this is incredibly addicting, but it serves no purpose and is a huge time suck.
Solution: stop using and reading.
What this all comes down to is that the Internet, as I have been using it for 6+ years, is a huge waste of time. I usually have a laptop with Internet within reach about 90% of the day. This was because I thought I needed to be connected. What I’m discovering is that I’m happier without the connection. I still have my iPhone. I can chech email and Google directions, but the time suck stuff has gone away. The life tips have disappeared. The random information has stopped scrolling.
What is left? More things I can trip over, talk to, and smell. Everything around me. Everyone around me.