Seven Days Later

Ben Brooks on his new membership model:

All non-members of the site will have access to every post that members have access too, with one caveat: non-members won’t see those posts until seven days after I posted them.

Before I get to my actual point, I want to commend the crap out of Ben for 1) having the balls to try this and 2) putting the thought into it that he did (you should read his whole post, his approach is carefully crafted). I have a lot of love for those willing to try new business models, especially when they have a lot to lose. Ben’s built himself a solid audience; it will be a test to build a solid paying audience.

Much as the model and the move captured my attention, it wasn’t what I found myself thinking about afterwards. Ever since I read his post, I find myself considering something that is not nearly as risky, but may sound just as crazy. What if I applied Ben’s seven day delay to absolutely everything I read on the internet, especially the tech news that tends to grab excessively at my attention? I’ve been guilty of RSS and Instapaper overload for some time now, but it’s my primary source for news and education. While I don’t want to declare RSS bankruptcy, I do want to focus less on what’s current and more on what’s important.

When my Instapaper gets full or Reeder has a particularly heavy day, I find that I’m far more liberal with what I eliminate. What would have seemed urgent or important at the time seems unnecessary, especially once it has lapsed a few days. And when something seem less urgent, it become far easier to determine its importance. Ensuring that my feeds were no longer timely would shift my attention towards the things that matter.

Now Ben is well aware of this and it’s driving him to step up his game:

Before I wrap this up: the writing here is going to change. […] If my article or review won’t be as helpful in seven days as it is today, then it’s not worth posting at any point.

I am going to hold myself to a higher standard.

As a reader of The Brooks Review I find this to be an exciting prospect. I prefer Ben1 at his best rather than his most clever. Clever leads to page views, quality leads to subscribers. Since Ben will be focusing more on the latter, I’m assuming his writing will as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I know a seven day filter is excessive. A good pruning of my feed and a healthy dose of self control when sending things to Instapaper would likely do the trick. And considering I haven’t come up with a way to delay my feeds, that’s probably what will happen. But try as I might, I can’t stop thinking about the idea and the potential benefits of applying seven day filter to the things I see, consider and read.

How do you separate what’s current from what’s important?

  1. And bloggers on a whole, for that matter.  

8 Responses to Seven Days Later

  1. Separating the CURRENT from the IMPORTANT continues to be a simple process for me…though it may be flawed. You mentioned in your article that you prefer Ben at his best versus his most clever. But in my experience, if you don’t have something “Clever” to catch my attention…your content may be important, but it usually goes hand-in-hand that the writing falls short. Good writing always includes some bits of “cleverness” that engages me and keeps me reading….since my days of collecting degrees via required reading are long gone! So, obviously, it’s great headlines, descriptive blurbs or thumbnails that are my filters for finding what’s important to me.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. If you lack a clear voice your point (no matter how important) will fall flat. There’s also reason I said “I prefer Ben at his best” and not at his most important. He’s intrinsically clever.

      When the emphasis is on the clever and not the actual point, I enjoy it less. There’s being clever about something and just being clever. I prefer the former as there needs to be substance behind the packaging.

  2. We have similar filter in our family regarding TV. We don’t have cable, so we watch most stuff online and with NetFlix. Only instead of 7 days, it’s often a whole season while we wait for it to become available. That wait certainly helps separate the quality shows from the current trends. The only downside is constantly avoiding spoilers. 

  3. One way to delay feed checking is to remove all the apps and make more difficult to look at them. I purposefuly don’t have RSS reader on my phone and usually check my feeds once a week. Although I’m sometimes late to a discussion the content is still there.

    Also how much of whatever happens currently does have immediate impact on you? I find that’s very little to nothing. I enjoy reading the blogs and feeds but in my own time even if it’s delayed. Good content (not news) will not be outdated just because two weeks have passed.

    If there was tsunami coming my way, surely I wouldn’t look at RSS to see when it’s going to hit.

    • I know you’re right, but I’m not sure my desired course of action is to get rid of RSS. It is my guilty pleasure at the end of the day (or at least during my commute). I also tend to use my Reeder to send things to Instapaper where like you, I read them in bulk. Just need to severely cut down on the amount of times a day I scan the crap. Which brings us back to your idea of not having a reader on the phone :)

      • Like with any habit change it takes time. Have you tried “not to do” list? I’ve read some positive reports about it but somewhat can’t see it using myself.

        • I’ve tried it, but it hasn’t really taken. I’m certainly more conscious of what I say yes or no to, but listing it out hasn’t given me that extra boost that it has for others.

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