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Information Overload

Since the flood, I've been having some interesting problems keeping up with my own life. When you are going day by day, you don't really think about adding one more bookmark, one more web comic, or even one more RSS feed to browse through. And, once you are used to it, adding a second or third really isn't a problem. But, when I took two months off without a computer, going back became difficult. I tried, but I can't keep up because I wasn't used to it anymore. The double-whammy of GenCon and flood, basically forced me to get rid of things that I just kind of had lingering around--simply because I couldn't keep up.

I normally organize my bookmarks via tags (using del.icio.us). One of the most common tags is the day of the week (Monday, Tuesday, etc). With the plugins I use in Firefox, one of the things I can do is open up all the bookmarks in a tag at the same time. That way, first thing in the morning, I say "open all in tabs" and walk away as 60-80 bookmarks load over the next twenty minutes. When I come back, after all those morning things, I can browse through the pages, closing each one as I finish. I get a lot of those, about seventy per day out of a total of over two thousand bookmarks on the list.

That's a lot of bookmarks.

In the last week or so, I've removed close to a hundred of them from my daily list and cut my RSS feeds in half. I just can't deal with that much information at the moment. I noticed that some people are doing that with their friends list on LiveJournal. I won't do that right now in LJ, but it did get me to thinking.

I don't like the Friend list on LJ. Well, let me correct it, I don't like that there is only one list on LJ and it is called "Friend". Sometimes, I just want to see how a blog runs, how the writer talks about their things, or just to keep track of them for a while. Besides an RSS feed, which I should use more often, the only way to do that is friend them.

Someday, I'm going to have to defriend someone because its too much information. A good friend defriended an alias of mine because, well, I write too much. In that case, it was a present for her (a year's worth of in-character journals set in the Exalted universe at the rate of 1/2 days). Well, closer to 200 posts in a year, but many of them were well over a few thousand words, so I can understand why it was too much. It was just what I did, and I had a lot of fun, but it was the only time I got upset about defriending, mainly because it was specifically for her. Other than that, I assume people will listen (friend) me until I write too much, then I'll end up on the cutting room floor.

The problem with the friend list, like pruning your blogroll, is that the person knows they are being removed. It reminds me of a MUD I used to play, it has one of the things I hated the most in any text-based game was this...

Bob looks at you.

I hated that feature. And its the same reason I don't like when LJ tells you someone has been removed as a friend. It doesn't always mean that someone hates you, or they can't stand you. Sometimes, its just simply too much information. And, the passive approach is to scroll past them, but after the flood, I realized I was doing a lot of just scrolling past. I lost interest a long time ago, I just never got around to removing the daily bookmark.

It gets personal with friend list, mainly because of the word "friend". Now, I do have online friends, but life goes in ebbs and flows. I haven't done much with Debian lately, with people I consider "friends" but my life has drifted away from helping that. It wasn't personal, it... just happened. But, some of them would be upset if I removed them as friends, despite not really talking for months or years at a time, just because it means something different.