Reduce your “information overload:” unsubscribe

When I was in library school in the early ’90 – very pre-web-2.0 – one of my favorite books was Richard Wurman’s Information Anxiety. Wurman talked about the need to organize and filter the amount of information we get every day. Even back in the dark ages – 1991 – we were bombarded with images, sales messages, and more information in a day than people 100 years earlier has received in their lifetime.

Now, it’s worse. Like everyone else, I have subscribed to dozens of ezines to get free stuff. Podcasts, ebooks, you name it. Some I read and listened to, most just sits on my c drive unopened. I’ve started compiling my own personal rules for determining what gets to stay and when to click the unsubscribe button. Here’s what I’ve come up with. See if any of these makes it to your list:

  • Does downloading one free report result in being bombarded with several emails a day, all exhorting me to buy their very expensive product or trainng course? One free report does not make me want to invest $500 in  course. Delete.
  • Does the report deliver good information and is well written? Are the follow up emails spaced out over several days or a week? They can stick around for a while.
  • Does the weekly or biweekly ezine have good information, well-written aside from any sales pitches? They can stay.
  • Are the emails coming thick and fast, all a sales pitch? Buh-bye.
  • Has the honeymoon phase ended and the ezine has been recycling stuff I’ve already read? And I don’t even really read them anymore? It’s been nice, but, it’s not you, it’s me. I need something new.
  • Do I just delete the stuff outright without opening? Unsubscribe.
  • Do I route them into a folder intending to read them someday? No more.

In the above spirit, I’ve decided to practice what I preach from the other side – I’m discontinuing my ezine, BuyLines after a final edition this month. I’ll continue to blog and if anybody’s interested in what I’ve got to say, they can subscribe for free to get updates emailed to them. I also want to play with doing a very-mini ezine on Twitter.  (follow me at @marybtb.)