Saturday, July 20, 2013

When It's Time To Part Ways With Content

I've been a content whore in the past. I used to subscribe to so many blogs, I'd get more than 300 unread posts in my RSS feeds if I stepped away for half a day. I used to need about 12 hours a day just to keep up with my podcasts.

And it was too much. Starting last year, about the time I changed jobs, I started cutting feeds off mercilessly. And I periodically go through it again.

Now I can get through my podcasts in the evening, even if I don't have time to listen at work.

I had to start asking "What value do I get from this?" If it takes me 3 minutes to read a blog post and it's all stuff I already knew, then the time was wasted. Sometimes I start reading a blog or listening to a podcast and get a lot out of it, but I reach the limit of the creator's repertoire. A couple years ago, I read The Married Man Sex Life Primer by Athol Kay. It was a decent book, so I subscribed to his blog. And for the most part, it wasn't worth the time. He said everything he could in the book. His blog was just a rehash, plus him talking about his family and Star Trek. I stopped reading.

I used to listen to podcasts by people like John MacArthur and Dave Ramsey. But after several years, when it came time to prune my feeds, I realized I'd heard about everything both had to say, so I quit. Plus, I was getting really sick of hearing Dave Ramsey amuse himself by referring to himself as a "Twit" for using "Twitter". That stopped being funny years before he heard of Twitter. Yet, every day, he giggled about it like it was the first time he heard the idea.

I recently started cutting my Facebook feeds as well. I started unliking pages. Some I've gotten tired of. Some I just don't need in my feed. I "like" Journey, but don't need to see their information in my feed.

Sometimes it's hard to cut a feed. I struggled with whether or not to cut The Oatmeal. I had to ask myself "How long has it been since I got any value out of his content?" I couldn't answer. He used to be hilarious, but has gone in a direction where his content is on the level of "my dog licks his butt!" and "why I like to run". So I unsubscribed from his blog and unliked his Facebook page. Nothing says I can't go back later. I'm sure if he does something really funny again, somebody will let me know.

In the case of The Oatmeal, people change. Content creators grow and learn and move in a different direction. Sometimes audience members do as well. I'm not the same as I was when I started blogging in 2004. I don't write the same content, and I don't want the same audience either.

I also stopped reading Tim Ferriss' blog recently. He used to post personal content, but now it's all guest posts. I generally don't like guest posts. I read a blog for the author's thoughts. Most of the time, guest posts are softball content that isn't interesting to me. Michael Hyatt's guests are like that. I usually read the name of the guest, the first paragraph, then I scan the bullets and move on.

Some creators never change, so as I change I quickly outgrow their content. I enjoy following creators I can learn and grow with. I've been reading Vox Day since about 2008. He's grown and learned and changed quite a bit, as have I. I have no interest in being stagnant, never learning or expanding. Some people seem fine with it.
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