The “Usenet trap”, or reading vs. writing

You have all probably noticed that this blog isn’t updated very often.  I’m afraid I’ve fallen into what Vernor Vinge once described to me as the “Usenet trap”.

A long time ago I was fortunate enough to spend time with him on a semi-regular basis, and even shared an office with him for one semester. At that time I asked him if he ever read Usenet News (which tells you how long ago this was), and he said (paraphrasing) “No.  If you are reading, you aren’t writing, and I want to spend more time creating, and not all my time consuming.” At that time he was working on the draft that became “A Fire Upon the Deep.”

I spent some time over the past week, looking at how much time I spent consuming “media” (reading) as opposed to writing (other than work).

Most, but not all of this, is part of my online life. This is all about writing. This doesn’t include any of the time I spent with my family and friends, doing things around the house, commuting, or doing “real work” at the office. I don’t even want to think about how many hours I spent in meetings at the office this past week.

So, my media consuming life:

I have 13 email accounts (two at work, two primary personal accounts, and nine that see almost zero emails). The work accounts see an average of 100-200 messages per day (after procmailing automated notices and high-traffic mailing lists).  The two primary personal accounts see about 40 messages per day. I write about 10-50 emails per day overall, a few are more than 1 page.

My Google+ Stream sees about 30-50 main posts from others and up to 300 comments on those posts each day. I post about three times per week, lately. I check Google+ about once or twice per day.

I have 436 RSS feeds in Google Reader.  Of those, I read about 25 feeds regularly (daily), another 15 twice a week at best.  There are 21 people in there, the LOPSA Blogs and then a few sites like io9, “not always right”, “failbook“, etc. So almost 400 feeds haven’t been read in the last 30 days.

I have three Twitter accounts, the one I actually read gets about 220 tweets per day. That’s from the 90 people that I follow. About 80% of my own tweets are re-tweets, I actually write a tweet about once a day at best.

I own 36 domains, of which one is my wife’s blog, one is an almost static page of links that I started 12 years ago (before blogs!), and one points to notes for a class that I used to teach (and archives the best student papers).  The rest are parked or are for projects that I never completed, or lost interest in.

I have a Yammer account for work, which sees about 20 updates a day, plus comments.

At the office I am in 5-7 IRC channels that IT uses for internal communications, plus #lopsa and #lopsa-live.

I have a Facebook account, which I read about once per month. I post at least 3 times a year.

I have 436 online accounts listed in my LastPass password vault.

I read 1.5 SF novels last week (but I read really, really fast thanks to a speed reading class in grade school).

I read 3 chapters of a computer security book that I plan to review.


I wrote one blog post.

, , , ,

%d bloggers like this: