Cutting Back

I started this week expecting to be writing this post about how I finally pulled the trigger and bought Google’s latest Nexus 7 tablet, which for months I figured would be announced at their annual Google IO developer’s conference. After all, the original tablet was unveiled at last year’s IO, and these things tend to be cyclical. Unfortunately, I’m not here today to gush about my latest gadget acquisition; instead, I’ve come to confess that I’ve once again hit information overload.

This isn’t quite as sever as in the past when I had to undergo “digital detoxes“. Mostly, I just need to reduce the amount of tech news I’m consuming on a daily basis, and I figure the best way to do this is to eliminate my reliance on RSS services like Google Reader. That shouldn’t be too hard, considering that Reader will be shut down in less than two months.

I, like many others, was extremely sad to hear that Google was going to retire their RSS reader service in July. It’s hard to even remember a time when I wasn’t using it to keep up with all the news and blogs that I care about. I know I’m hardly alone. These last few months, I’ve been trying to figure out how I’ll be aggregating my news feeds for the foreseeable future. Do I move to using Twitter exclusively? Or use a social news reader like Flipboard? Until this week, I’d been switching back and forth between two apps – Feedly and Press – on my phone, but now I’m think it would be better just to leave them all behind. Too often I feel like I need to “catch up” with the news in my Google Reader feed, and I’ll subsequently spend hours just to accomplish this goal. And for what? There’s simply too much information to absorb, and I’m wasting too much of my time and energy trying to. Was the any point in listening to a 3.5 hour long keynote (and a pretty boring one at that) when I could have just as easily caught the highlights in a fraction of the time? I doubt that I really need to answer that.

But this change in my digital lifestyle is about more than just the shear volume of news that comes out everyday. I’ve grown increasingly annoyed with the amount of negativity and cynicism among the press. I don’t expect (nor want!) journalists to act as cheerleaders for company X, Y, or Z, but I also don’t want every news story to have a negative spin. The press seems fixated on portraying every news story as evidence that this company or that is on the downward slide towards irrelevance. These days, the tech news I read feels less like reporting and more like yellow journalism. And I just don’t care to read this tabloid trash anymore.

Ideally, I’d like to completely separate myself from the flood of daily news and rumors and live a life more akin to a normal human being. What must it be like to never know months in advance that new and interesting gadgets and apps are coming? To no longer have that need to be the first person on the block to know about the latest tech. I can only imagine the conversations…

A: “Did you hear about the new iPhone?”

B: “Why no, good sir/madam! Please, tell me more!”

What a life that must be!