Blog Reading is a Waste of Time

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.

Follow Up on Friending vs Following

The first time I joined Twitter I followed way too many people that I didn’t know and businesses that I wasn’t interested in. This led to me being overwhelmed with five to ten tweets every minute! This made Twitter too unidirectional for me. I couldn’t keep up nor did I care to keep up.

In my previous post I mentioned that one of Twitter’s advantages is that a user can follow another user without first having to be accepted. That is one of the advantages of Twitter that gives it such potential.

On three occasions this weekend I’ve heard celebrities profess how great Twitter is for them because it allows them to speak directly to their fans. These are the celebs that have hundreds of thousands of followers. They tweet and we receive. No PR interference. No media misquoting. No interference. Thus we see the usefulness of Twitter on the large scale.

What about the rest of us? What I have to say is rarely (if ever) funny, informative or interesting beyond my close circle of friends. I tweet simply because I can. Because I like to create little things, and Twitter allows me, as a busy person, to feel like I’m adding to the web. It’s that simple. I don’t care if I’m followed. It’s just me, and maybe you. But mostly me. That is why I have made a point to, with a few exceptions, follow only those people who I have met in “real life.” At least their uninteresting tweets may fall within my universe from time-to-time.

What does that say of the difference between me following someone and me friending them? My following people on Twitter who I know would accept my friend request on Facebook lessens the difference. And thus, we see both a further similarity and another difference between twitter and Facebook. As a non-celebrity I live a small life, both offline and online. I don’t need to be followed by non-friends. I don’t need to follow them. Thus my Twitter universe is roughly equal to my Facebook universe. They’re both at a place where I can be invested without feeling overwhelmed. They are both a two-way conversation between me and my followers/friends.

The celebrity Twitter experience is far different. It’s simply a megaphone for them. They have headphones to hear what others are tweeting, but hundreds of thousands of followers create too much static to be heard. It’s like I experienced with my first Twitter account. It made me give up because I was looking at it wrong.

There’s a lot to think about here. Pretty interesting. A big future for both companies.

Friending vs Following

Facebook and Twitter have received a lot of online and offline press in the past two weeks.

Twitter is blowing up. It’s more pervasive than a Top 20 pop song. Local news papers, churches, late-night TV, law firms, your neighbor, my imaginary friend – nearly everyone is twittering, whether they want to or not. The concept of posting a public text message about what you are doing is about as narcissistic an activity as you can find. But it’s the new new thing and is tremendously informative in ways I never would have expected. I’m mentioned, before, the prospective value of Twitter as a search engine.

With that said, can you blame Facebook for recently redesigning their homepage to look and act more like Twitter? The new homepage features a more “status” oriented appearance with live streaming updates.

Even with Facebook’s recent repositioning of a key area of their website to better compete with Twitter, I don’t believe the two sites are perfect substitutes for one another. This is less obvious than it first appears, and it’s not necessarily because Facebook has more features. Instead, where I see the fundamental divide between the two services is in how you connect with people on the websites.

Facebook has two primary methods of connecting. One way is to friend people and wait for them to accept you as a friend. If they choose to ignore you, then you’re out of luck and cannot gain full access to their information. Another way is to become a fan of a page. This is more of a unilateral process, depending on the page settings.

Twitter has one method of connecting. You follow people, yet they don’t have to follow you back. They don’t even have to approve your access to their tweets, unless, of course, they protect their tweets.

Each service has its own strengths and weaknesses, and most who want to be connected would claim to need both. But if it came down to it, I could more easily do without Twitter. After all, if Twitter didn’t exist, Facebook would take up the space.

Facebook Takes On Twitter

You can’t not use Facebook! You just can’t. The website is too usable, too huge, and too addicting. Whether, like me, you use it mainly as an elaborate address book or you are a power user who can’t live without knowing the latest about what’s on your friends’ walls, a Facebook presence is a must.

With that said, it’s obvious that the folks over at Facebook are a little jealous at the recent success of Twitter. So much so that they will soon be introducing a redesigned homepage that mimics Twitter’s functionality. The Facebook homepage will have a status input area at the top and below that will be a real time stream of your friends recent updates. The Facebook homepage has more functionality. Where twitter is 140 characters of text only, Facebook allows text, photos, videos, causes, etc.

Further bringing Facebook in line with Twitter’s model is Facebook’s merging of personal profiles and public pages. Like on Twitter, where you can follow a user without them following you back, Facebook’s integration of pages and profiles will give it a more Twitter-like feel by making the overall experience more transparent.

Facebook has come a long way from where it began. It its original inception, it allowed the user to view static profiles and had minimal interaction. With this change, Facebook will retain the robustness of its many services while gaining the agility necessary to compete with Twitter and other similar limited-purpose websites.

I can’t wait to try out the new Facebook homepage. I doubt it will replace my “need” for Twitter, but it may for some. What are your thoughts?

More Time Needed

I wish I had more time for everything because there are so many things that interest me. It’s inevitable that I discover and archive, drive by, dream up, and am assigned much more than I’ll ever be able to take in thoughtfully. And that is just one day. The next day it starts all over again. It’s not a feeling of being overwhelmed as much as it is disappointment that I can’t effectively absorb more.

I wonder if I would feel the same way if I stopped reading so many blogs, twitter posts, and facebook notifications. Consuming all of that “pop-life” is like trying to get my brain to record the lives and events of a thousand different people each day.

It is my hunch that if I were able to better focus on “local-me” that I would find each day more fulfilling and, in turn, less stuffed. And who I am trying to prove something to – that I care about all of the useless gadgetry, latest fashions, and most obscure routines of people I’ll never know? It can’t be anyone except myself.

So many people.
So many stories.
So many facts.
So little time.

Why Twitter Is Great for Golfers

I use a micro blogging service called twitter. Twitter prompts you with the question, “What are you doing?” You then respond with a short message of 140 characters or less. (Same limit placed on text messages from your phone.) The typical use of twitter is much broader than this question. People take notes on it, converse with each other and track things.

My username is guyrogers and you can find my profile and posts here. While most people find the service to be completely pointless, I see great value in twitter for golfers.

Five great ways golfers and fans can leverage twitter:

1. Track shots during a practice round
2. Update friends and family about a player
3. Chat with one another about TV tournaments
4. Follow PGA Tour twitter updates
5. Track and create a record for friendly bets on the course*

*No comment on the intelligence of creating a public record of potentially illegal activity.

I’ve only found one other twitterer who will admit to being a golfer. Do you twitter? Do you twitter AND golf? If you do, find me and follow me. Happy twittering!

Me in China Lately

Well, I’ve taken four one-hour exams in two days and they have been a blast. Not really.

The first exam yesterday was Intro to Chinese Law, which would be better named Intro to Chaos. It asked us to briefly describe the Chinese legal system and then talk about a case that pertained to the Chinese Constitution. The main thing you need to know about the Chinese Constitution is that it does not carry a great deal of weight. It’s more of a supplementary document than a preemptive one.

The second exam yesterday was Technology Licensing & IP Management. This was my favorite class, and taking the exam wasn’t so bad. Our first fact pattern prompted us with a patent licensing issue in which we were to play the licensing expert and guide our clients, Gina and Sam, through the negotiation and licensing process. I don’t remember the other questions.

I was least looking forward to today’s first exam, World Trade. The course was difficult to follow and covered more material than should be covered in a ten-course class. While the material was potentially interesting, it is difficult to convince myself I got anything from it.

This afternoon’s Contemporary Issues in Copyright exam was almost enjoyable. The first question asked if we thought a court would find that Google’s use of copyrighted wroks for its Book Search Project would be found to be fair use under §107 of the U.S. Copyright Act. I say yes, I think so. The second question asked us to differentiate between the principles of two major cases regarding contributory infringement of online service providers. This wasn’t bad, either.

The lask exam tomorrow morning is Intro to Chinese IP. Can’t wait to be done.

Other than studying a bunch, I’ve managed to watch all of Clark and Michael – a ten-episode series about and by Clark Duke and Michael Cera trying to get a show picked up. Michael Cera played George Michael on the hilarious “Arrested Development,” which was unfortunately canceled after just three years. Clark is his best friend.

I’ve also joined Pownce, which is like the Twitter service I already use, but has more features I don’t really like.

And I’m looking forward to having time to watch the cheap DVDs I’ve bought over here, including Transformers.