Constantly improving the Signal to Noise ratio
At home I have this habit where, whenever I purchase a new article of clothing, I turf out an equivalent number of old items. Buy a new shirt - turf an old one. In with new socks, out with some old ones. New hanky in - old hanky out. You get the picture. The idea is to drive towards a wardrobe of clothes that always represent a current set based on what I prefer to wear. It's like survival of the fittest where each article of clothing has to compete to remain in the fold - although old jocks can only survive for so long .
I've started to actively do the same with my RSS subscriptions. I use the trigger of new subscriptions as a point of evaluation for items in my current subscription list. I don't unsubscribed from feeds on a pure 1-1 basis. What I do is to look at the number of items that the new feed will add to my reader each week and look to unsubscribe from a number of feeds that is representative of that number of individual reading items. This helps to ensure that the signal to noise ratio is always being fine tuned on a proper comparative basis.
Over the past 6 months I've started tuning in much more to feeds that focus on the theory knowledge management and less on individual technologies and implementation related blogs. As an example I've added blogs such as:
At the same time my interest in low level details about implementation has waned somewhat. In recent times, to match the intake from the blogs that I've listed above I've unsubscribed to some really excellent blogs about CRM, SharePoint, and design patterns:
- Shade Tree Developer - a great blog about implementing code and design patterns.
- Same Shirt Every Day - Alex's new Rails blog. Sorry Alex, I'd love to get excited about Rails but I lack the time
- Stunnware's CRM Corner - This guy has customized CRM to within an inch of its life but I'm not so interested in actual CRM customization as I thought that I would be.
- Steve Pietrek's SharePoint links blog - Not to be confused with his original Links Blog which I can't see myself ever unsubscribing from!
It's not that these blogs are not a good read - they've served me extremely well in the past. It's just that, beyond a certain point, reading stuff can interfere with doing stuff. So hence the need for constant pruning and vigilance in maintaining the right level of signal to noise. By the same token, there's a couple of blogs that I've kept - mostly because they are friends - but who seldom update me with their articles these days:
Although they tend to clutter my reader I've kept a hold of them in the hope that they may one day again inspire me with their tales from the trenches