Wednesday, October 19, 2016

curating the newsfeed

Some of you know that I recently re-activated my Facebook account (Molly Elkind Handwovens).  I've been posting occasionally on Instagram as well, @mpelkind.  I am enjoying these new ways of joining the conversation about art and tapestry making, and I'm learning (as people had been telling me for years I would) of shows, artists, and other opportunities I would not have discovered otherwise. I'm making new connections and strengthening old ones.  So that's all good.

Here's my problem, and it's hardly unique to me.  I am drowning in information.  I know, Welcome to your world, right?  I am something of a news and information junkie anyway.  I subscribe to two newspapers and eighteen blogs, belong to six art organizations that each produce newsletters, get four fiber art journals, and listen to public radio.  Also I'm a sucker for books.  (I call it "research.")  And then of course there's email.  Sigh.  I know none of this makes me unique, and clearly some of it is self-inflicted.

(I know, I know, my own blog contributes to the flood of information.  Thank you for choosing to read it when you have so many other stories demanding your attention!

But it's Facebook that has pushed me over the edge.  So many stories, links, images!  So much to learn!  Too much!  My head is full and my mental energy is heading off in a thousand directions, away from the creative work I'm supposed to be all about.

Being the overly analytical type, I spent a good hour this morning trying to figure out how to weed out curate my information flow, both inbound and outbound.  What should I keep, what should I limit, what should I exploit, what should I unsubscribe from?  Which sources of information are most valuable for which purposes?

This is as boring to look at as it was to do:

So far I've decided that for information about art, fiber art, and tapestry, Instagram, Facebook, blogs, and newsletters from membership org's are my most timely and valuable sources of news and information. I will try to free myself from reading cover to cover every fiber magazine or book that crosses my path.  For administering my business, timely reading and response to email is key--but I can try to check it and respond only a few times a day.  Blogs, newsletters and discussion lists also improve my business, so I have to keep up with them.  I will give up on reading the actual newspaper (except for weekend art and books coverage) and get my news from the radio.  I will limit to two or three the number of times each day I check Facebook and Instagram.  And I am ruthlessly unsubscribing from the email ads, newsletters and Facebook feeds that don't improve my practice, my understanding, my social circle or my mood!

I'm curious to hear how you cope with this dilemma.  I'm sure you have some great ideas I haven't thought of.  Please share your own strategy below.