Interesting book review on the MIT Sloan Management Review covering “The Information Diet” by Clay Johnson.
Personal responsibility in an age of mostly free information is vital to individual and social health. If we want our communities and our democracies to thrive, we need a healthier information diet.. . .
Just as food companies learned that if they want to sell a lot of cheap calories, they should pack them with salt, fat, and sugar — the stuff that people crave — media companies learned that affirmation sells a lot better than information. Who wants to hear the truth when they can hear that they’re right?
This got me thinking about my own information consumption. Over the years, my information consumption has shifted from books and newspapers to online and on the go. I find my greatest consumption occurs on the iPad, with my laptop being a close second.
My current “workflow” for information consumption includes my selection of RSS feeds and Twitter. I use Reeder on the Mac and iPad to scan the feeds and obviously Twitter to scan for links. I save articles to Pocket that seem worthy of further time and return to Pocket on the iPad to read them when time permits.
Thinking about thoughtful consumption, I think went through this process about a year ago without knowing that is what I was doing. I noticed repetitive articles and topics from similar blogs (such as the various tech blogs) and got tired of seeing similar and low-value headlines. At that point, I purposely culled my RSS feeds, eliminating the “me too” blogs and focusing on high-quality, non-link bait blogs – keeping the Harvard Business Reviews and eliminating the Business Insiders and Huffington Posts of the world. For more timely information, Twitter keeps me abreast, but again, I keep my follow list fairly slim and quickly remove people if they are not value add.
Thoughtful consumption of information fits nicely into an overall philosophy of thoughtful living. Being purposeful in your actions, thinking about why you are doing what you are doing and is it worth your time can be a great way to increase productivity and your general sense of self. I am not saying being serious all the time is required, but really thinking about what you are doing and why you are doing it can lead to breakthroughs in your daily life.
Bottom line, restricting your information consumption to high-quality sources combined with an effective and time efficient workflow allows you to stay sufficiently on top of the news of the day to impress even the most erudite dinner party guest without wasting time on junk news.