RSS, while a wonderful development, takes a lot of energy, at least in my view; the consumption of feeds is work. The format’s convenience puts an even greater pressure on readers to keep up with ever more weblogs, and it creates, at least in me, a personal expectation to maintain an awareness that’s commensurate with the energy invested in reading feeds. That is, the more I read, the more I expect to be aware of what’s going on, what new technological developments are taking place, what new online tools are being developed, and what memes are gaining currency. And every time I realize that I’ve been blithely unaware of a particular turn of events until long past its freshness date, it fuels a compulsion to be even more vigilant in my reading, to spend even more time with my aggregator. It’s a vicious cycle.
Between my duties at Behavior, this weblog and my personal life, time is a luxury, as it is for many people — but not everyone. It always amazes me how much time people can spend generally being aware of everything that’s going on in the blogosphere, how much time they can spend reading and replying to long comment threads. Which boils all of this rambling down to a few simple questions, really: how the heck do people find time to keep up with this stuff? When, exactly, are people reading their feeds? Are they reading and commenting progressively, during the course of a day, as their aggregators alert them to new posts? Once each in the morning, noon and night? In marathon sessions every few days or once a week? Really, somebody please school me.