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