• Subscribe a lot, consume a little

    See Subscribe a lot, consume a little on

    A month ago, I was happy that I reduced the posts in my RSS reader from 2,200 to 640 within 2 days. Guess what? It’s back to over 1,000 entries again 🙃🎉.

    In general, I’ve amassed a huge content backlog that I’ll never get through unless I become chronically unemployed again1 and I did nothing else during that time. I was delighted then to come across this post by Rach Smith on how shee likes to go through content which is by subscribing to many sources (preferably via RSS) and picking what to consume from there.

    Sounds obvious but rather than be pressured to consume everything, I just pick out whatever and get to the rest whenever I feel like it and get rid of the things with no appeal to me at all. Think of this as the robustness principle (hence the url) but for the attention economy where you should be conservative in what you do and be liberal in what you accept from others.

    1. Dont’ want to be chronically unemployed, but it would be great to structure my life around having a lot of free time to do whatever as if I was. That needs a lot of life planning but it’s ironic how having no money and lots of money means you can do nothing? Like that iconic Office Space scene [VIDEO: 1:40] or the Mexican Fisherman Parable↩︎

  • My Current Content Backlog

    In line with how there’s too much content and how I’m basically a content glutton, here’s all the stuff I thought I would go through at some point:

    • 450 articles in my rss reader,
    • 110 tabs on my mobile Safari
    • 702 posts in safari’s reading list (which can’t be exported unless you make a data request)
    • 3,063 videos on my iPad
      • 1,720 more videos are sitting on my external hard drive waiting to be watched
      • On top of all that, I’ve just added 498 videos to the hard drive
    • 35 movies
    • 14 TV shows
    • 121 Podcast episodes
    • 166 Books (as ePubs in Apple Books)
      • Another 128 books as PDFs
    • Countless games I want to play

    Note that this is a lower bound and things grow by the day. I’m about to give up on trying to catch up since it lookslike it will never happen.

  • There's a Lot of Digital Competition

    Now I know that time is finite, I also understand it’s ramifications for the attention economy. The issue is that it’s much bigger than before as there’s so many things competing for your attention. For instance, my blog is here, much like the other sites in my RSS reader, the YouTube channels I’m subscribed to, the podcasts on Overcast, the subreddits, Hacker News threads, Twitter miniverses and random websites. And that’s just the free stuff. Add money to the mix and you’ll also be competing with checkout candy.

    There’s a lot of competition out there whose customers are increasingly price sensitive. Then again, there’s a lot more eyeballs with more being added every day, as tech becomes faster1.

    I thought of this recently as I came across a video on why YouTube subscriptions are just a channel like button [7:00]. In short, the content discovery method has changed as there’s so much stuff out there.

  • Time

    The main goal of the academic field of economics is to study how humans satify their unlimited wants and needs given finite resources. Since I’m human, I have to do this as well when it comes to time, especially now as I have far less time than I used to have.

    Ever since I started working, I’ve underestimated how much free time I had while I was chronically unemployed. In those days, I could wake up whenever, watch hours of YouTube videos, play even more hours of video games1, read books, watch movies, doomscroll, listen to podcasts, binge watch multiple TV series, try cook, take a walk and at times, do productive things like program and blog. Now that I work, I have far less time to fuck around.

    Work takes 10 hours of my day between commuting, getting ready and the actual work. Sleep takes an 8 hour chunk, I spend an hour eating and half an hour of family time2. This leaves 5 and a half hours to try and do all the things I could easily when I had thrice the time. It would be less if I had to do more domestic labor. Making things worse is that those few hours are incredibly tiring as it lies during the time I wake up and when I get back from work when I’m really tired.

    Fitness and career development are important, but when video games are fun, I don’t progress my career.

    Games are fun but they need a lot of effort compared to movies and video games.

    Movies and video games are cool, but they need a lot of attention compared to YouTube videos.

    There are a lot of YouTube videos I want to watch from amazing creators (with many more I haven’t discovered) that I’m always playing catch up3. YouTube is kinda passive so I can doomscroll.

    Doomscrolling never starts out that way. It always starts with some slight curiosity on some tech influencer. Hours later, I’m suddenly unable to look away from a vile comment section.

    In short, there’s so much stuff to go through. Even If I get productive, I have hundreds of posts in the drafts and just as many links saved to go through. There’s clearly not enough time to go through it all, and I doubt there ever will. Even if I did, what’s the point? Entertainment is valuable sure, but can I truly say I’m being entertained if I’m watching a YouTube sketch comedian at 3x speed, blasting away meticulously planned stylistic pauses? Probably not.

    All this has made me realized that time is finite and I need to have a guiding philosophy to figure it out. If I don’t, I might end up in some strange places. As that cat told the girl, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.

    1. Shout out to Yakuza series (0—7 as well as Lost Judgement), Persona 5 and Stardew Valley for taking up 400 hours of my time. They were totally worth it. ↩︎

    2. Had we not done this, we’d never talk since we’d probably never talk even if we live together. ↩︎

    3. It can take me hours to catch up with certain creators. And that’s at 3x speed. I get that it harms artistic integrity and all, but I want to consume more content. ↩︎