I know, I know that Web 2.0 is all about decentralization, so that I am not bound to any single provider. In stead of the big brother provider everything we have different providers for different services. And we have mashups that make them talk to each other. Well, not only mashups, even feeds and feed aggregators play an important role in transporting the content to various places. All is well.
Unfortunately, the number of services we use outnumber the mashups and the aggregators available. What I mean is that today I have this blog, the Google Reader linklog, the Twitter entries, the Flickr account and the Zooomr account, the emails, the calendar, the LinkedIn profile, bookmarking and other places where I opt to write. I am sure I have forgotten a couple of other services I use. If someone wants to stay updated with me, he/she has to subscribe to all these. In spite of feeds, that someone has to take an effort to know all these feeds and subscribe to them. So many for just one! I wonder what will happen if that someone is not feed-savvy!
When I am on other side of the table, I need to make sure I am aware of the places the person writes. That is why I was not very happy when Twitter was introduced! Now I got to subscribe to one more feed per person I was following, great! It probably does not sound too much if following people is part of your job. If not, it starts becoming a heavy and overwhelming baggage to drag! I still do it because I have found it enriches me and directly or indirectly benefits me in my work and hobbies. But I do wish sometimes that I could have just one point for one person. For example, all feeds combined into one and offered as a superfeed. Of course these are available, but I believe not popular. I have not seen many people offering a combined feed of their services.
Maybe we need something new, even if it is another service. This is not feed fatigue, this is the fatigue out of knowing what all to use to follow a person or a topic. This is fatigue out of handling up-times and down-times of these services, and it is fatigue of staying on your toes to have to use the new services that come up. Do not get me wrong, I am all for newer services and sites. That is what keeps the Web competitive and pushes each other to improve. But trying out is one thing and having to use them is another.
This can be considered as a classic argument against the distributed approach. Something in favor of the giant portals which can do this. But I would really be glad if there is an easier way to form a single channel through which all the thoughts can be streamlined, irrespective of where they reside. Because I follow people and their thoughts through these subscription technologies. It is not just about reading articles or posts, it is about informing each other. And I hope that informing does not become difficult but easier with these technologies. Otherwise I am sure there will be some of us who will give up some day, either partially or completely. Or some new ones will simply stay out because of the perceptible effort.
This is what happens with a lot of people I know. They just bypass the Web and call me on the good old telephone. Whether it is just a friendly call or a discussion. They consider it to be a too much effort to follow on the Web, the phone is easier and efficient for them. I will get this superfeed someday, but I am just probing out to know if there can better solutions or if there is an existing solution that I do not know of.