Do you ever feel guilty when you get behind on podcasts, rss feeds, tweets or any other form of aggregated media? I have been suffering from this guilt which I like to call ‘Aggregated Media Guilt’ or AMG for short for quite some time and I think its time to address it here.
I can honestly say that I have been suffering from AMG ever since I started listening to podcasts. I would often download podcasts without time to listen to them and end up falling behind. This gave me a sense of guilt because I had a ton of podcasts that I never got around to listening to. Sometimes I would merely delete them and try to forget about them, but many times the guilt was such that I would end up spending a minimum of 9 hours a day listening to podcasts just so I could be caught up and not miss anything. At the time, I only had this guilt from podcasts, but I hadn’t really discovered the wonders that are Twitter and RSS feeds.
Eventually, I became an avid Twitter and RSS reader user which has been just as bad if not worse than the guilt I suffered from podcasts. Now, I am checking my Twitter every few minutes, reading over 100 tweets every morning when I get up to make sure I haven’t missed anything and reading hundreds of items in my Google Reader every day. Why am I doing this? I have this feeling that if I don’t, I am missing out on something. I will admit that many things in my RSS feed or Twitter feed are things that I don’t care about or just a bunch of people saying the same thing. While this ultimately sucks up more time to sift through these items, I feel it is necessary so I don’t miss something that I find important. I am not one to get addicted to anything, but I admit that I have become an aggregated media addict.
Do you or people you know suffer from the same problem? Do you fell like you are missing something if you don’t see everything?
I believe I have come up with a solution. I find that if I have a manageable level of aggregated media, I experience guilt, but if I have a source of aggregated media that is not possible to keep up with, the guilt goes away. For example, I follow around 200 people on Twitter. This is a fairly manageable feed as there is probably only in the neighborhood of 500 updates a day or so. Some of those updates I find valuable and others I don’t so they get glanced over. In the end, I am trying to find the value which makes me check my Twitter every couple of minutes to see what I have missed and what conversations I can join in on. Friendfeed on the other hand is very different for me. I follow a large number of people on there so that there is so much stuff that is aggregated and passes by that there is no possible way that I can read everything. Realizing this, it completely changes my mindset and gets rid of my guilt. By knowing that I cant keep up with it no matter how hard I try, it frees me from thinking I need to spend all of my time trying to consume what is shared.
In the end, with the way that comments and likes are done with FriendFeed, it becomes much easier for me to pick out the interesting items on FriendFeed because there is generally a lot of activity around anything worth while. You can’t really see this in RSS readers or on Twitter so it becomes a case of you having to find the nuggets in the river instead of letting other people find them for you and giving you a chance to see them before they pass by.
In the end, you have to realize that while you may miss some valuable content, more is always coming and chances are what you missed wasn’t life altering. Whether it is on Twitter, Google Reader, or your podcatcher, great content will become obvious and you should let others find the great content for you so that you don’t have to look for it yourself and feel guilty for missing something.
What do you do about your aggregated media guilt? I would love to hear how you cope with it and your strategies for fighting against it. Leave your stories in the comments!