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Kathy Sierra on "keeping up"

Creating Passionate Users: The myth of "keeping up"

Kathy Sierra had a good post the other day about the problem of "keeping up," and, in particular, how so many of us feel compelled to take on unrealistic reading loads and then feel bad about not being able to deal with it.

So you let the stack of "things to read" pile up, then eventually when the pile gets to high you end up tossing half of it--or worse, moving it to a deeper "stuff to read someday stack. We have selective amnesia about what we'll ever get to, but mainly because most of us keep feeling like we have to keep up! Keep up with what?

You can't keep up. There is no way. And trying to keep up will probably just make you dumber. You can never be current on everything you think you should be.

I'm intrigued by this whole idea of "keeping up" -- especially in how we experience and exert an invisible pressure to know more (and sooner) than our peers and the world in general. As I said in the BayCHI talk, at a point you really need to ask yourself precisely what it is you're keeping up with. Which is not to say you won't have an excellent answer for this -- there are certainly things that bring so much value to your world that their most minute changes must be monitored and synthesized in nearly real time. But, I guess I just wonder how much of the attention we grant to something like "news and information" ends up being squandered on celebrity babies, political theater, and whacky internet memes.

It'd be interesting to consider how often the things you monitor most map to the things you (say you) value most. Or, as I might have phrased it in third grade, if you love Digg so much, maybe you should marry it.

TOPICS: Life Hacks, Links

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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