Theresa O’Connor

State of the Firehose

My friends like to joke that I read the whole Internet. They’re only half-joking.

Ted’s Internet usage stats
Source of data Number of inputs Change since December 2005
Google Reader920 feeds+3171
Twitter31 friends+31
LiveJournal163 (People137 + Communities24 + Feeds2)+27
Wikipedia watchlist321 articles+27
Gmane166 lists+6
freenode9 channels+1 inbox0-1211

A lot of people think trying to keep up with this much stuff is nuts, but it’s actually quite doable in a small amount of time, at least assuming you have about 2 hours on the bus each day — which, err, I guess most of you don’t have.

Here’s what I do:

Like Jeremy Zawodny, The hardest thing I have to do every day is to decide what to ignore. I plow through Google Reader over breakfast — not actually reading anything, but simply opening tabs of things that look like they might be interesting. I probably end up with 30 or so tabs on a typical morning. Then I get on the bus and read through the tabs, keeping open only the ones for which I have some specific next action which requires an Internet connection — tabs I’d like to bookmark on, vote up (or down) on reddit, etc.

My feed-reading trends over the last 30 days:

Once online at work, it’s a very quick job to execute those next actions before jumping into my first work task of the day. Rinse and repeat for the return commute and you’re all set.

As far as managing the large amount of stimuli, perhaps (heh) left-handedness has something to do with it:

Connections between the left and right hand sides or hemispheres of the brain are faster in left-handed people, a study in Neuropsychology shows.

The fast transfer of information in the brain makes left-handers more efficient when dealing with multiple stimuli.

BBC: Left-handers ‘think’ more quickly

Yup, that must be it. :)


  1. At some point I moved my subscriptions into my feed reader.