Media choices

It’s hard being an adult reader–you have to actively edit how much and what you read, just to mitigate the time you spend during your day.  I’m always envious of youth who have all the time they can devote to developing a passion; mine was music, and I felt like a walking encyclopedia of knowledge on it until I turned 26 or so when bills, career, and other time-sapping events of adulthood finally brought me to my knees.  Now I feel lucky to actually listen to an entire album.

When I was working with teenagers, one of my constant comments was how much I respected their ability to manage the sheer volumes of information they are expected to handle on a daily basis.  In my teen years, I was mainly confined to the four channels on tv, what was available at my local video store (on VHS!), three or four radio stations, mail-order, and magazine subscriptions.  Nowadays, most folks manage those things plus podcasts, TiVo, websites and blogs, and not to mention cellphones that can do most of that plus more.  No wonder we resort to data management tools like this!

So now I choose my reading more selectively.  Like eating, if I choose to put it in my brain, I want it to be high quality.  However, this automatically hinders my scope of what I read.  I stick to some major sources like the NY Times and the New Yorker, plus some books and blogs, a few magazines, and, if I’m lucky, something I haven’t come across before.  Google Reader does a good job of scanning a lot of RSS feeds and bringing me stories I haven’t read up on, so that’s become another great aggregation tool.  I’m also a fan of Firefox’s RSS feed manager which brings those to the top of my browser.

Nowadays, I’ve added Al Jazeera to my feeds, plus a few other blogs and RSS news sources, to balance my perception of the world.  I’m still waiting for a good feed on news from Thailand, if anyone knows of one.

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