The 2013 Reset

I am making some changes to reading, scanning and sharing patterns for 2013, effective immediately.

I deleted all 174 of my feeds in my Google Reader.

There are a handful of feeds (blogs) that I end up subscribing to year after year, but the majority of feeds I subscribe to over the course of a year are only interesting for a short period of time, or worse, turn out to be just average. And reading many things that are only mildly interesting leads to sharing average quality things. What goes in, goes out.

Starting fresh with Google Reader and other social services is something that I have been doing for a few years now, and I find that it keeps the process of discovery alive and interesting for most of the year.

There are two apps on my phone, where most of my reading is done, that provide me with more than enough high quality reading material at any point in the day — The New York Times and Byline (Google Reader app).

As for Twitter, last year I chose to un-follow everyone I had followed over the previous five years and start over, when the time was right. So far the time is not right to go back to using Twitter. I have yet to figure out a way to use Twitter that doesn’t lead me down the path of:

  1. self marketing
  2. drowning in other people’s mildly interesting updates
  3. wishing I had spent that 20 mins differently
  4. being guilty of putting out a mildly interesting feed to the people who follow me

If I do go back to Twitter, I have a feeling it will largely be for distribution reasons and brand building. I highly doubt I will have a turn of heart and leap into the family of good vibes and high fives anytime soon.

There are three needs I am seeking in a social service.

  1. More freedom. I want freedom to say the things that you can actually say to friends. I want the freedom to post an unfinished thought.
  2. I want freedom from the drivel of inspirational quotes and happy family photos, until I am ready to see them. And I want to be able to share my own drivel of happy family photos and updates to family and friends.
  3. I want to share a handful of thoughtful ideas and links and maybe have a conversation around those ideas (more on this in 2013).

On Facebook, I am going to try setting the default audience to “friends” for everything I post. While all of my public subscribers will only see posts that I specifically mark as public. This does create an additional step when I want to post public items, but I think that is fair given that I want my public items to be well considered.

For photos, I am going to make a more conscious use of Flickr, less use of Instagram. And when I use Instagram, it will be largely to post images to Instagram and not use it to feed other things like Flickr and Facebook. Facebook photos are really for family and friends, but I need some place to put 35 photos of sandstone from Moab or a large set of photos from The Rockaways post Hurricane Sandy, and Flickr is the place for that at the moment.

And lastly, in 2013 I am hoping to release a few things that I have been working on.

May your 2013 be interesting!