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Contribution to The Link Gourmand

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I enjoy the newsletter by former RedMonk analyst Coté enough that it’s one of the few newsletters I allow to hit my inbox. It’s a delightful mix of insightful (and sometimes poetic) thoughts from Coté, some off-the-cuff thinking, and some link sharing.

When he reached out to ask if I wanted to share how I approach reading on the internet, I was happy to contribute. I quickly realized that the volume and variety of what I read for my research made for an unwieldy list of “things I like to read” so instead I opted for sharing my philosophy around trying to organize all the content.

And so I present: a comprehensive list of the ways I’ve tried (and largely failed…) to organize my internet-based content consumption while working at RedMonk

  • open a link of something I plan to read later into a new tab. slowly accumulate more and more things I’m planning to get to ‘eventually’ until I get overwhelmed by the number of tabs I have open, and then Marie Kondo my browser and close everything. the joy this sparks is fleeting.
  • maybe I should try to avoid using my browser as my ‘to read’ list by bookmarking things to come back to?
  • once in a blue moon I actually make it back and read things later.
  • convince myself that it’s the tool that’s the problem. maybe I should experiment with different bookmarking tools?
  • realize that I’ve now saved links across Pocket, Pinboard, and Instapaper.
  • maybe I can make add a “when there’s time” category to my Trello board and I can make cards for all the interesting articles I want to read and conference talks I want to catch? use this religiously for about a month, until Trello itself falls victim to a “which of these 19 possible tracking systems will actually help me get things done?” (and I repeat this entire floundering process with my whole to-do list, not just my reading list)
  • maybe RSS can be a thing again? let me go subscribe to everything and then never come back to Feedly again.
  • maybe I need to focus on deep reading? maybe I should use Evernote on my iPad and I can highlight and annotate as I go, and I can create an elaborate metadata tagging structure as though I am writing a thesis. pick a first paper that is too technically deep, get stuck, and abandon the entire system.
  • what about mindmapping while I read? (here comes a whole new software exploration rabbit hole)
  • hmmm. maybe, just maybe, I have spent too long focused on what software I need and not enough time on reading? I should probably just subscribe to some newsletters and let other people curate links for me.
  • oh no. my inbox.
  • I need some filters.
  • oh no. once something skips my inbox it’s pretty much the equivalent as opening or a new tab or bookmarking it to read later: I will never see it again.
  • maybe I need more tabs?

The internet is vast and the content unending. I can’t get to everything, even though I desperately want to. If anyone figures out the solution to this, I am eagerly awaiting my next magic bullet. (And until then, please try to post any links I need to see on whatever social media service I’m using exactly when I’m using it.)

Person's hand holding "Help" sign buried under a pile of books, textbooks and papers.

Read the whole newsletter edition over at Coté’s substack and check out my contribution to his new section “The Link Gourmand.”

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