Does technology save us time or make things more complicated? It depends on who you ask. Some people will argue that, for sure, the more technology, the easier life gets. Others will point to the stress caused from always being “connected.” In particular, there is a lot of disagreement about whether or not blogs actually save people time. Some people see it as a new way to become addicted to the online world, drawing you away from the “real.” I can see the temptation of this argument. But I think it really applies to only a very few.
Contrary to popular belief, I really strongly believe that blogging is a time saver. For all of you out there who ask me how I have time to blog, I should really ask you why you don’t think you have the time to do it. Especially if you are a business. Think about all the time you can save by reading your news via RSS feeds, organized into logical folders of importance. Or how much time you can save trying to keep tabs on where your industry is going and what your competitors are doing. Or even the time saved writing a blog post versus a press release. I am all for making life easier.
Now, I know that there will be a lot of you reading this thinking I am crazy. But it’s really all about how you organize it – you can say this for just about anything you do in life. You can organize your online habits much easier than you can your offline ones. There is no way you can tell if the information in today’s newspaper will be about you or your competitor. But online, its as easy as subscribing to the right feeds. You can draw news from specialized blogs and sites, and even subscribe to Technorati and PubSub feeds on keywords such as your company name or your industry. Easy as that. The news comes to you, not the other way around. At the beginning of the learning curve, blogging may take some time. You need to know how to find your news, have it coming in, and get into the vibe of posting (if you so choose). After that, it’s just easier.
Noah Brier points to some great sites all about making online life more simple – in effect, making your life more simple. Period. Lifehacker has an interesting section that uses surveys to see how people use technology to “get stuff done.” 43 Folders talks about productivity hints such as how to be productive with email. You can even read how RSS can save you time over at the Shifted Librarian.
Overall – don’t let the excitement of new technology take control of you. We all know how to organize our email and we can definitely do the same for RSS and blogging. Know what you need to know and read/write the rest when you have free time. It will not hurt you to miss a day or even a week. If there’s something important out there, it won’t be there for just one day. I strongly believe blogs to be an essential business tool and a great personal enrichment tool – so long as you be organized.