The Sock Diary

Musings of a part-time Sweaty Sock.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Email destroys the mind

Apparently the "messaging" life style destroys the mind faster than marijuana. The constant context switching required for reading emails and getting back to work/conversations is assisting in dropping people's IQ by 10%, more that twice that observed in dopeheads. I think I know what... eh, um. Gotta go and, er, yeah, whatever.

It is something I have observed happening in myself. My concentration span is way down since I got a Blackberry, and started subscribing to RSS feeds. When I started blogging and listening to podcasts, I got overwhelmed initially. However, with a bit of patience, and judgement, and if you're lucky, decent email subjects, I found I trained myself to sift information quite fast. However, there's still too much at the moment, and I am having to make decisions about binning certain rss and podcast feeds, on the basis of how perfunctorily I listen/read them.

With the Blackberry it is possible to filter the mails that are delivered to the heandset when you're out of the office. I use the filters to remove newsletters and forum posting notifications, as well as what I consider spam, but the work spam filters don't. This means the Blackberry now tends only to get 30 odd emails a day, rather than the 100 it started at.

The number of podcast feeds I subscribe has dropped from about 35 at it's height to 18 now. I'm working on the basis that if I skip through more than two episodes of podcast, drop the feed. I'll definitely keep openpodcast, the Daily Source Code, and Morning Coffee Notes feeds as they provide a zeitgeist to the whole podcast movement, and openpodcast usually has a couple of gems every two or three days.

The number of RSS news feeds I subscribe to was about 55 at it's height, but is now 13, some of which are essayists who update once a month or so, while others are Slashdot, the BBC, and the Register. This balance, in tandem with Today on Radio 4 and the various newspapers I see during the day, seem to keep me reasonably in the loop, without introducing a massive bias either way in reportage. News feed are a bit different from emails as I decide to look at them, rather than being alerted, and I can scan the headlines and zero in on anything that seems to need a bit more explanation/tickles my fancy.

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