Escaping the Echo Chamber

A few months ago I made the conscious decision to take a step back from all the RSS feeds and read just the better-written sites once a week. Since doing so I've managed to free up at least an hour a day for other tasks and have even noticed that many of the sites I read were little more than an echo chamber, repeating what has already been said elsewhere and providing very little1 value to the story. I still hear about the stories that are the most interesting or most important at the moment, and the information is just as valid today as it was when it was first discussed several days before. Yet, despite the simplification of the incoming data stream, I think it's not yet simple enough.

The problem is that the echo chamber continues to exist in the RSS feeds, and the sites that are acclaimed as being better written than most are (really) nothing of the sort. I've been reading a number of the Read & Trust sites since February and have discovered that, despite the commitment the site promises, the majority of the professionals in the list are little more than John Gruber wannabes. Most posts consist of a quote, a link elsewhere, and very little else. Why should we follow the links? Why should we all read the very same things without offering some kind of discussion? Read & Trust is supposed to be a group of writers who happen to be very good at their regular day jobs, too, not just a collection of digital content curators.

This isn't to say that my site is the bees knees or anything, but writers should probably write something every so often to keep the designation.

Instead, what we have with the Read & Trust members is a super-focused echo chamber where everybody posts to the same articles on the same websites at roughly the same time with the same format and same commentary. Occasionally they switch things up by writing about content on each others' sites, but these posts are usually self-serving and written like a private discussion that I have no business being a part of.


So now the RSS list has been simplified further, consisting of less than six professional tech bloggers, zero tech sites, 20 amateur bloggers I've enjoyed over the years2, two dozen newspaper RSS feeds where content still exists3, and Bill Amend's FoxTrot site. This should make the weekly news sit-down much more manageable.