I’ve had Reeder on my iPhone since the day it was released, and I couldn’t have been happier with it. But something has become very wrong. Reading feeds has become a chore and something I no longer enjoy. Let me clarify: It isn’t the writing that I no longer enjoy, but rather the constant sifting through articles to find what I think is interesting. You often hear about professional writers’ RSS habits — subscribing to hundreds of feeds, and thumbing through thousands of articles a day. But there’s a difference for me — this is not my job. It was a hard decision, but I’m done with RSS. Yesterday I deleted all of my RSS apps from both my iPhone and Mac. The reaction on Twitter in a nutshell was “Good for you, but you’re crazy!” Let me explain my reasoning.
Time is precious
Time was a huge factor. It’s one thing to casually read things around the Web, but it’s another to feel like you have to in order to keep up with the news. “Why am I doing this?” is something that ran through my head lots of times over the past couple of years, but I was never willing to cut the cord. Two days ago it hit me.
I was sitting on my couch entrenched in Reeder while my 9-year-old son was busy on the floor assembling his new alto saxophone. “I made up a song, Dad,” he said. Half-listening, I asked him to play it. He did, and I told him he did a great job. Reality slapped me right in the face when it dawned on me that I hadn’t really listened to it. I asked him to play it one more time, and he did. This time I paid full attention, and as those shaky notes came out and I saw the proud look on his face, I knew my time was better spent with my head out of the headlines. Forever. How many times had I been reading RSS feeds and not paying attention to what’s actually important? I have no idea, but I know it’s going to stop now. Time is important and limited. I’m going to spend it the right way from here on out.
RSS’s replacement (kind of)
Of course, I’m not going to just ditch my favorite news sources and blogs. I’m just not going to put them in a position to dictate my time. A couple of years ago, I started compiling a Twitter list of apps that I was interested in. I didn’t want to follow all of these accounts and clog my timeline. A list is a perfect way to keep tabs on those. In fact, you can follow it as well if you like — provided Twitter doesn’t kill the feature. Anyway, I’ve now started a new list that has my favorite sites (that have dedicated Twitter accounts that tweet headlines and links). I’m sure this list will grow, but I do know that this will take up less of my time. I can take a gander at it and toss any interesting headlines into Pocket, my view-it-later service of choice.
That’s it in a nutshell. I wanted my time back, but I also wanted to stay in the loop. Will it work? I have no idea, but I do know I’ll never miss another original song from my son. I’ll never miss a question or comment from my wife. I’m plugging back in to what’s important. This won’t work for everyone, but I’m giving it a shot.