What Am I Reading?

A funny thing about our jobs, we do two things for a living. We write and we read. Yes, we get paid to read. In fact, the more we write, the more we have to read about what we are writing. As the author of this blog I produce content once a week. As a consumer of content I read multiple articles, multiple times a day. I also read books on occasion. While I could list the things I read, look for individual in depth reviews of the most important stuff I’ll make individual posts. Instead I want to write a little bit about how I decide what I find important enough to read. This generally falls into two categories.

  1. Learning how to best implement code/configuration x on platform y
  2. Theory and best practices

So, if you want to know how I learn to implement something, it’s pretty easy to explain. If I can’t ask an expert in my company, I ask the internet experts at StackOverflow.com. Usually my questions are already sufficiently answered on there. When they are I hit the up vote button. Every great once in a while I have a question about something that nobody has answered before. Even then, StackOverflow to the rescue. Really, most of my technical implementation research comes from any of the family of StackExchange sites. It’s a wonderful platform for people like us to share our expertise and pitfalls with one another.
 The more subtle and somewhat complex reading list I have revolves less around actual technical implementation and more around architectural/developmental theory. Figuring out how I want to best expand my horizons in these areas — I’m still working that out. Here’s a couple of things I do to find articles that I want to save for later:

  • I follow other content producing developers and companies around on Twitter, they tend to have useful things to say somewhat frequently.
  • I follow content producing developers and companies around in Google+
  • Because of the links I read, my phone makes recommendations about a few things that might be of interest to me
  • Oddly, I don’t currently have an RSS feed reader that I rely on. I’ve played with having one in the past, but I ended up just ignoring everything it captured, so I stopped using it
  • For things I read that I find myself regularly referring to I use Evernote capture and switch to article mode
  • I have a close knit group of colleagues that recommend content to me

So, long story short, for the most part I look for the right kinds of people/companies through my social media channels. I ditched Facebook some time ago, mostly because my signal/noise ratio was heavily out of balance. I may venture back into RSS reading again some day, but honestly my social media interaction provides me with enough rich content that I’m not sure I’d find additional time to try to track more things via RSS. What do you think? How do you decide what’s worth your time to read? I’d love to know how my blog got onto your reading list, so leave a comment to let me know!

Originally published at jsonjason.blogspot.com on May 14, 2015.