(photo from Craig Dennis)
My heart is broken. We were just starting to connect. You had such promising content and I had such high hopes for you. But after browsing through your links, I closed your tab and now you’re lost to me out there somewhere in cyberspace. Like a leaf falling from a great tree, you are gone. I can’t gain from your rich content, nor browse through your awesome links, nor marvel over your awesome design. I’ve sought you out on my emails, Twitter, RSS feeds, browsing history, comments and pestered Google and Yahoo, but alas, I fear you are really gone from me. This sinking feeling in my heart bears witness that I know, full well, that I am the one who has lost. May you go far in cyberspace, and fascinate other readers, grow an awesome following, and once you reach fame, perhaps, little URL-I-Misplaced, perhaps, we will be reunited once more. Farewell.
One Very Penitent Internet User
Am I the only one who loses or forgets the URL (location) of awesome websites or blogs while web surfing or when blogging or twittering? It’s happened to me several times, more often than I would like to admit actually. I’ll read an awesome headline, click on a link, and it’s gone. I feel like I’m suspended in space, with quality website after quality website whooshing past me, like the many people rushing past on a busy street. Sometimes I can stop one of them, sometimes I can even connect with a few of them, but frequently, they rush by in all their glory and then they are lost to me, falling far away, forever. I think I’m a victim of information overexposure.
(photo from Jonicdao)
How do I recover from this overexposure? How do I accept the passing of the little URL-I-Misplaced?
Perhaps blogging is the answer. I’ll just link to all the articles that I’ve enjoyed. Yeah, that’s it! But, ummm…Vomiting up undigested blogging bits saps the originality of my own blog and weakens it’s allure. I’ve seen some blogs excel with this style. Glenn Reynolds rarely even offers commentary on Instapundit, but shares new links constantly on his blog. He is popular. While I admire his success, I know I can’t hope to achieve it the same way. For one, where in the world does he find all those fascinating links anyway?
Perhaps RSS readers are the answer. I’ll organize all my favorite blogs and websites on Google Reader (or Feedburner, which I just realized has joined with Google). Well, they definitely helped me organize my favorite sites. I highly recommend using an RSS feed reader if you want to keep up on content in any blog (some regular websites have RSS feeds too). However, even RSS readers can quickly become overwhelmingly full when pulling from many constantly updated sites.
Perhaps Hiding in the Closest is the answer? Come to think of it I’m not really into closet hiding. It gets lonely in there, and did I mention it’s usually dark? Besides, what does one do, exactly, while hiding in a closet?
(photo from Lin Zhizhao)
Well, okay, one benefit from hiding in a closet is that it lets you think. And thinking about this overexposure problem has led to a few answers:
1. Organize – there are excellent resources to help with making sense of the impossibly huge cyberworld. RSS readers, and Bookmarking tools are two of the top ones. Begin using them, organize, and reorganize. Make use of folders. Evaluate the links in them from time to time, and then reevaluate them. If a link isn’t getting used, then discard it. There are plenty of other links out there in your areas of interest to take it’s place, never fear.
2. Take control of your internet digestion. Make a diet and stick to it. As much as I hate to have to tell you this (myself included), there are only so many hours in a day, and not all of them should be spent devouring cyberfood. Plus, if you care about the health of your personal blog (or your life, marriage, great-uncle who lives in Saskatchewan, for that matter) , then you’ll want to give yourself a limit for how many hours you spend immersed in cyberspace. Breaking it down even further, your cyberspace time should have three components to it, somewhat like breakfast, lunch, and supper.
- Breakfast is the biggest meal of the day, so it includes newsy sites, and other sites devoted to your areas of interest. Eat away, you need enough to last.
- Lunch can be lighter, but should be just as healthy; this includes social networking. All your twittering, commenting, and all other social interaction online falls into this category.
- Dinner is the meal you spend the most time preparing for, and this one had better be good. This is where your blogging and personal writing efforts fall. Quality and time are the most important. I want to see the best of the best here.
3. Relax. Make time to pull yourself out of the cyberspace vat, and do something not at all connected with the cyberworld. Read a book (yes, they actually still print those), cook something new (ready-to-cook packages do not count). Enjoy a moment of peace, breathe in the refreshing feeling of real life. Perhaps even call that great-uncle in Saskatchewan. Trust me, cyberspace will be just fine without you for a little while. I would challenge you to even take an entire day off. Yes, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms, but you’ll be even stronger and wiser afterwards. Trust me on this one.
And while you’re doing all of these things, please have a moment of silence for the passing of my little URL-I-Misplaced.
(photo from Lara)