Catching up my RSS reader after returning from vacation, I noticed how quickly I skimmed the multitude of posts, and this alarmed me and made me worry a bit. Shouldn’t I be happy that I have improved my skill of recognizing whether a given item would interest me?
Partly, yes, and there is a great deal of pattern recognition that quickly tells me if the post’s topic or style strikes a chord or resonates with me. Probably it is based on certain keywords, or juxtaposition of keywords, or combination of keywords and blog author, and also based on visual cues that reveal whether the salient points promise to be sufficiently dense, abstracted, or highlighted. And practising for years, has obviously made this filtering faster.
But if I do not understand the context or title quickly enough, I am inclined to skip the item as well, because consequently it won’t resonate with me and won’t match my pattern filters. And this is where worrying starts. Do I fail to understand because the post is not clearly and well written, or because I lack important previous knowledge, perhaps because my focus is too narrow and my favorite readings are becoming an echo chamber? I have always been annoyed with people who prematurely discard thing just because they don’t understand them.
In normal daily reading, this dangerous ignorance tendency is not so apparent, but the longer the unread items’ list is, the higher the threshold is for posts to catch my eyes. Maybe in this summer the relevant traffic has in fact decreased somewhat. Bloggers seem to be sane people who value nice outdoor opportunities and write less if the weather is good, and instead, think more and write it down later. But I cannot be certain that this accounts for my sparse reading.
It seems that I could not, in good conscience, recommend my filtering strategy. Probably it needs a large base of diverse interests and understanding, and you never know when it is large enough. And additionally, it may need occasional checking of some samples of discarded items to see if discarding was justified. But you never know when such checking is overdue.