Open That Link Now: Don’t Hesitate Tomorrow May Be Too Late

image: my delicious tag cloud, death of the tag cloud
775 tags in my cloud

So tell me how many times this happens to you during the course of a busy social-filled day: Links and apps and suggestions are passed on in every imaginable form. Friends, feeds, followers, tweets, web pages, linkedIn updates… Even Facebook updates seem to come with increasing intensity. At the end of a day, or browsing session, or Twitter encounter, I am ragged with the feeling that I might have missed some critical piece of information. And that drives me crazy.

I don’t want to miss IT. If someone smarter than me has passed on the valuable piece of IT, I can’t afford to lose IT. But, I am tired with trying to keep up with IT, and all the various links, pages and permutations of IT that are sent my way.

Recently I have been trying a new strategy. Click the link.

I have so many ways to leave reminders/links/hints for things I need to read, sites I need to scan, programs I need to install and learn. I have apps to manage my bookmarks, I have Firefox addons to manage my temporary “read now” bookmarks, I have a delicious page, a blog, a friendfeed repository, an inbox, a “read later” inbox, a handful of shortcuts on my desktop that I am meaning to get to… right… now… and at least ten other techniques for delaying the click to nirvana.

Except! I don’t get to them. I decided to Get Real with my infostream.

Accept! I will not return to them. And often if I do, say a week later, it is too late to make use of any time-sensitive information. Now much of this “leave behind” data is non-essential. (I know, because if it WERE ESSENTIAL somebody would’ve reminded me by now that I needed to look at it. Bad form to rely on others for urgency, I know, but I’m working on that.)

So for the last few days, when the “oh so interesting tweeted link” comes in, I click on it. I often won’t immediately go to Firefox and read it, but at least the page will get a few seconds of my time as I am clicking it shut. What that does for my “mental inbox” is huge. I have done it. I’ve given the tweeter my link love, I’ve given my curious imagination the reassurance that I won’t miss “this one.”

So the truth is some of the links are good and some of the links are bad. Duh! Further, I begin to see the pattern of folks that forward me links or retweet important and critical information so frequently that I can’t tell a 911 from a 411.

Well, you know what? I can’t fit all of the linking opportunities into the Urgent and Critical quadrant. There is not enough time in a lifetime to get to all the links that flood by in a single day. So I quit trying!

This is not to say I don’t use my delicious bookmarks or add to my “temporary — read later — bookmarks,” I do. But for the most part, I leave the twitterstream, rss flood, email cascade, feeling complete.

If I’ve missed IT let me know, or send IT again. IT is not personal. 😉

@jmacofearth
permalink: http://bit.ly/click-the-link

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