Total Consumption is not Necessary


You can finish a jigsaw puzzle, but you’ll never finish the internet… (yayimages)

Remember how I told you I’m a completist? I mostly put that in the context of television but I’m also a completist with the internet. I aim for total consumption.

Which is really dumb.

  I can’t consume the entire internet. The internet and Facebook, as Mark Zuckerburg (or was it Jesse Eisenberg?) puts it so eloquently in The Social Network, is “like fashion. It’s never finished.” And don’t worry I don’t try to consume the entire thing.

GAH, the mental pictures from that idea…

What I really mean is that I have this awful habit of opening up Twitter and scrolling and reading until I see the last tweet that I encountered on my previous visit. I scroll and scroll and scroll and 20 minutes later I finish wondering why I did that.  I do the same with Facebook. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But what am I scrolling for?  What am I looking for?  How often does a real piece of news or item of importance pop up in those endlessly scrolling feeds?  What am I gaining from it? And why do I need to see all the status updates?

But for some reason I still try. To read it all, to consume it all.  My goal is, seemingly, total consumption. But to what end and for what purpose?

I am trying to change this, but 10 year old habits die hard (yep, I’ve been on Facebook for 10 years and Twitter for 6). But I recently started implementing the rule of “total consumption is not necessary” in my blog reading to some success. I have many blogs that I read daily (or however often they post), and I used to read every. Single. One.  Fully. Much like how I used to read my magazine subscriptions cover to cover. As you can imagine, I only recently learned what tl;dr means.

But now, I have no problem with skimming for time sake. With looking at an article title and thinking “no, I will never make a glitter wall, so I’ll just take a glance at the photos and move on.” To read the first paragraph and think “this won’t change my life today,” and click “next.” Since I’m a very all or nothing person, this is a big deal. At first I felt like skipping a day on one of my favorite blogs meant I had to break up with it. Either full commitment or none at all. It turns out this works very well in a marriage, but is really stupid on the internet. I still fully read probably 75% of my subscriptions, but I now give myself permission to skip and skim and still read the things I like.  But I’m still working on implementing this when I’m reading my newsfeeds.

What about you? Do you struggle with wanting to read it all, see it all, or the fear of missing out?  How are you managing your time for reading and consuming, especially on the internet?

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