If a sentence falls on your computer screen and you don’t read it, did it make a sound?
In order to do my job, I listen a lot. I talk a lot, too, but if I don’t pay attention to what’s going on around me I really can’t be the kind of coach and mentor my clients need.
So I read. All the time. That’s great, because I really enjoy keeping up on what’s happening in the business and technology communities. Having it be a big part of my job makes everything even better!
It isn’t always easy, and the way I approach the task of keeping up on all that reading varies (as it should). Some things get mailed to me. Some show up in my e-mail or browser. And others come to me through an RSS feed (you can receive this feed by subscribing here) and land in my Droid SmartPhone.
Lately, there’s too much.
I don’t mean there’s too much for me to keep up with. What I’m saying is that there’s too much repetitive noise. On my Droid, I receive 300-400 articles each day, and a similar number of tweets from the people I follow on Twitter. It sounds like a lot, but I drink my own Kool-Aid and just as I put business management systems in place for others I have an information management system in place for myself that lets me get through that without missing much.
But I’m noticing that the 800 or so items each day are actually about twenty items worth reading re-issued over and over again, plus another dozen or so pithy remarks that catch my attention. I like the pithy remarks. But seeing the same story come across my plain of vision thirty times just tells me that there are too many people whose job it is TO TRY AND GET MY ATTENTION, instead of actually having something to say.
Yesterday, The New York Times announced that sometime next year they will start charging for access to their web site. They aren’t talking about what that will look like, other than to say that it will probably involve giving everyone a limited amount of free access, after which they will have to pay if they want to read any more that day/week/month. They also aren’t saying how much it will cost.
The question now is this: will The Times and the rest of the “serious journalism world” get us to pay, and will that spell the end of the amateur or underpaid blogging world, or will the opposite occur and we’ll be thrust into a world where more and more repetitive but mostly useless information is what we look at?
I hope paid content wins. You know that old line about “you get what you pay for?”. The words of bloggers are feeling more and more like they’re worth what we pay for them. And while I’m sad saying it, that’s a business change we all need to root for.