A while back Jim McGee commented on an interesting article from Mark Hurst on Five Ideas for 2004 that made its way around the blogosphere at the start of the year. The last of these ideas is that "Managing one's bits is an increasingly essential skill." Hurst has expanded on this in Bit Literacy: an overview
The problem of near-infinite bits, however, does have a solution. The solution is what I call "bit literacy." Bit literacy is an awareness of bits: what bits are, how they affect our lives, and how we can survive in a society permeated by bits. With that awareness, bit literate people are able to *control* the bits, and not be controlled *by* the bits, that are becoming central to our lives and jobs.
His summary: "Let the bits go."
While maybe a strange phrase, this is a critical aspect for anyone who relies on "bits" as a central part of their worklife (as opposed to those who rely on their muscles and physical skill). The discussion of personal knowledge (information) management talks about this, but it generally misses the discussion of what we are supposed to do. I collect tons of bits: email, pictures, website visits, blogs, music, etc.
In this article, Hurst recommends that we stop collecting so many bits. Remove the clutter from your life by refusing to respond to the electronic disturbances in your life. Unsubscribe from those newsletters and electronic notifications. Keep your inbox empty.
Hurst suggests that once you do this, what remains behind will be the stuff that is truly important. This is something for me to think about as I consider which blogs I really want to read, as opposed to which ones I like hearing about as highlights from other people. Blogs are another bit stream and provide much useful content, but they also give me the opportunity to get lost in that new world just as easily. I need that balance that comes from judicious selection not "give me everything."