in General

Decision Fatigue

Decision fatigue is real talk when it comes to the web.

— Joshua Blankenship, Some Thoughts on Web Content Strategy]

Through my life, I have been fairly good at making choices. I don’t spend a lot of time doing price comparisons, looking up reviews of products, sorting out what to order off a menu, and so forth. I tend to enter an environment either knowing roughly or exactly what I am wanting, or it simply does not matter to me. For example, if I need a power bar, I tend to scan the options for something that isn’t incredibly bulky and go for it.

Making those same choices on the web is difficult. More likely impossible. My mind is simply too interested in everything, regardless of the subject matter. I have a hard time hitting the off-switch when it comes to stop reading about something, scanning through Twitter, or getting lost in the world of YouTube videos. The absolute worst is Wikipedia or when I am trying to solve an issue that is usually technical in nature.

Tonight, the project was setting up an old Windows desktop computer as a Linux web server. Incredibly geeky thing to start doing for no real purpose other than wanting the challenge to see if I could get it working.[1] For someone not entirely familiar with the command line interface, the task has been a bit more daunting than I first expected. After several attempts of trying something, researching it on my iPhone, having a page up on the iPad to copy commands from, I decided to stop for the night.

Most people would most likely sink into their chairs to watch television. Lately, more people are probably scanning Facebook or Twitter. I usually go through all the stories showing up in Google Reader.

One of the posts led me to something Joshua wrote yesterday, How to Ensure Your Ideas Are Never Criticized. Being the curious guy I am, I kept reading before coming across the post I quoted above.

His post is about writing content and how people need fewer options because the amount of content is getting out of control.

Everything we do on the web is a part of a whole, and if the whole doesn’t sing in harmony, that dissonance will confuse and turn off people.

After I read the “decision fatigue is real” line, and went through the piece again, the above sentence really stood out for me. Not in terms of how others were viewing the web, but instead with how I was using the web.

I started to think about how I could use the web better to align more with who I am. There are some things I share on Twitter or Tumblr that are ephemeral, not something I would ever want to read or listen to again. If it isn’t something I don’t want to see again, what are the chances someone else will want to click through to see it?

I don’t think I need to develop a full content publishing strategy since this is more hobby than business for me, but I do want to rethink about what I share and what I create here.

This blog has been forever evolving for me, it seems. Time to nail it down.

  1. I am a big proponent of Douglas Rushkoff’s Program, or Be Programmed  ↩