How I surf the firehose (a meme!)

Rob tagged me in an interesting — and very Mozilla-centric — meme, asking that I answer a handful of questions about how I deal with the massive amount of information generated by the Mozilla project, staying on top of it and staying sane. These are my answers (work-related reading only — non-work stuff is off-topic, I think). I tag 4 more folks at the bottom!

1. What is your reading schedule? Do you have a schedule?

When I first get up in the morning, I start reading through email while the coffee brews. Once I get a coffee, I finish email (flagging stuff for later response, not responding as I go), then move on to read Twitter scrollback (rarely all of it), then forums, then finally moving on to feeds.

Feeds are the bulk of incoming stuff, and I have them cordoned off into folders that are ordered by general relevance. High priority stuff (work-related, generally, and friends/smart people) I check in on several times a day, Mid priority stuff is once a day or once every couple of days, and Low priority is once/wk at best. Low priority stuff often gets dumped unread when I declare a “Mark All Read” day 🙂

I don’t have a formal schedule — I’m online more or less all day, every day (except for the gym and the pub) and I just dive in and out of various communications streams randomly.

2. What do you read daily, and how often?

  • Email: many times/day, usually flipping to that tab once or twice per hour.
  • IRC: Constantly. I realized the other day that except for vacations and whatnot, I’ve been on IRC more or less every day since sometime in 1993. And I’m OK with that. IRC is like Twitter — profoundly simple, and so much more than the sum of its parts.
  • Twitter: I am utterly fascinated by Twitter and I love it and I’m not sure why. Its immediacy and continual flow creates a sense of connectedness that strikes me as somewhat magical. I’ve been feeling these wires for a long time, and Twitter is something brand new that feels oldskool and important. The ambient awareness it enables is quite something. Very interested to see what develops there. Anyhow, I’m on Twitter all the damned time. Even out and about (but not at the gym).
  • IM: When they come in. IM is real time, and I wish people used it more. It’s basically private IRC.
  • Planet Mozilla + other Mozilla-related feeds: 4-5 times/day. I flag items for inclusion in the weekly about:mozilla newsletter throughout the week as I do this, compiling the final selection and writing it up every Monday.
  • “Friends”, “People”, “Smart”, and “Work stuff” folders: once or twice/day. “Friends” stuff I generally read then and there (and has a pretty deep overlap between ‘work’ and ‘non-work’), but other stuff I’ll flag for later reading in bulk. (“People” and “Smart” is stuff that isn’t directly work related, but that is peripherally so; “Work stuff” is non-Mozilla stuff that is relevant to my specific job.)
  • “Fun” folder: I’ll flip through my “Fun” folder if I have 5 mins to kill or need a break. It’s full of internet awesomeness like Cute Overload, I Can Has Cheeseburger, Overheard in NY, Passive-aggressive notes, etc. Pretty much guaranteed to make me laugh at least a few times/day, which is more valuable than gold.

3. What do you read more than once / week? How often?

  • Stuff I’ve flagged for later reading when skimming through feeds.
  • “Tech”, “Tech blogs”, “Web”, and “News” folders. There is way too damned much traffic in these to try to stay on top of them daily, but I usually skim through them a couple of times/wk. I skim pretty brutally, tho, and probably flag maybe 1 or 2 posts for every 50-100 that come in.

4. What blogs, feeds, and newsgroups do you read?
Blogs + feeds + newsgroups are all basically feeds for me, and I’m currently subscribed to over 200. My “Mozilla” folder contains:

Yes, I know it contains duplicates, I do that on purpose.

5. Lastly, name a guilty pleasure in your feedreader.
Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. She’s insanely awesome.

Bonus question: What do you use to read feeds?
Google reader, although I’d kill for something that would help me organize things better and deal gracefully with significantly more volume. I have to keep my feeds down to around 200, which is really a pain in the butt, since I’d like to follow hundreds (thousands?) more.



One thought on “How I surf the firehose (a meme!)

  1. It’s an interesting problem, isn’t it? Feeds are a great way of bringing all the worlds information to your fingertips – but how on earth do you process all that information?

    I’ve got local news, world news, news from the places I’m planning on traveling to. I’ve got news on what my friends are doing, I’ve got news from various software projects I’m interested in, and news on what’s happening in IT in general. Not to mention entertainment – dozens of web comics, pages offering jokes, and quotes, and funny and/or cool pictures.

    It’s information overload!

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