My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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falling out of love with RSS

I had an love affair with RSS. When we found each other, it was as if we were meant to be together forever. Our passion was strong and intense. But as our relationship settled, new truths emerged. Our critical tendencies got the best of both of us and we found the faults in each other and pushed them until they hurt. We found each other wrapped in a difficult, abusively addictive relationship. At the peak of our insanity, we were spending 6 hours a day together. It was not healthy and thus we decided to part ways.

In the separation, much was lost in the process of regaining self-control and stability. We had many friends in common; they are much harder to reach now. Just as in any breakup, there is a sense of losing one’s mind. I’ve lost touch with certain information flows, certain cultures. But i feel so much relief in finding that i am a person, to let down my addiction and to work on being whole again.

When we were together, i didn’t realize how one-sided my perspective on people was. Together, we only saw a limited segment of the world. After our separation, i have been able to return to my roots, to step back and find grounding.

I am certain that i will always long for the beauty of our relationship, but i will never miss the feelings of guilt for not engaging, the feelings of intensity overload the cruel pain of being a true information junkie.

[Note: just saw Doc’s post that RSS is opt-in authenticated email. I wonder if my RSS burnout has anything to do with my email burnout?]

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8 comments to falling out of love with RSS

  • just re-engaged with rss again, to catch up on the blogging of a person whose email on a list really intrigued me…. made some comments on her blog. it was useful. but i don’t think i’m going back to the old relationship….

  • Kate Silvertooth

    good for you… as a wise man pointed out… there is a difference between information and experience, and like him, i vastly prefer the latter.

    light,
    kate

  • RSS-free day of the week

    I’ve had lots of trouble balancing my time online lately, between blog reading, publishing and code writing. Although I don’t use the bloglines update notifier, I leave bloglines opened in a tab and check it regularly. Unlike Steve Gillmor, who also is…

  • RSS-free day of the week

    I’ve had lots of trouble balancing my time online lately, between blog reading, publishing and code writing. Although I don’t use the bloglines update notifier, I leave bloglines opened in a tab and check it regularly. Unlike Steve Gillmor, who also is…

  • Ruthless Skimming. It’s the secret.

    I’ve been on Usenet for 13 years now (and if you know my age, that’s pretty shocking), and have been subscribed to around 50 mailing lists and newsgroups since I started college; you just have to learn to ignore anything that doesn’t immediately look very, very important.

    The hardest part is learning that when somebody chooses a nondescript subject line for their message, that is THEIR fault and you MUST NOT read it. Case in point, I can now consume all the information I need to while spending less than 2hrs/day on email by simply ignoring the idiots who post messages containing nothing but a link to some site or article, or messages with the subject “Look at This!”. If they want my attention, they need to learn to include a summary.

    Oh yeah, a really really good spam filter helps too.

  • RTFB

    I recently read “Blogging Off,” an article by Whitney Pastorek that originally appeared in The Village Voice and was reprinted in the July / August issue of Utne Reader. Whitney presents an amusing analysis of “How Blogs Are Ruining My

  • Faites simple

    This was the watchword of Escoffier and it’s surely the way all things computing have to go. Back in October, The Economist had two articles: ‘Make it simple’ and ‘Now you see it, now you don’t’. The latter was sub-titled,