Skip to main content Accessibility Feedback

You can’t read everything

In explaining why he created the ultra-minimal website Today’s Guardian, Phil Gyford noted…

When I read a newspaper I’m holding a coherent package of news. “Here,” it says, “is what you should know today.” Once I’ve read it — or, at least, flicked through it — I know I’m up to date. I don’t need to read anything until tomorrow’s newspaper, which will catch me up with everything that happened in the intervening time. And while I’m reading the paper I know how much there is remaining — the pages in my right hand — and I know when I’m done.

This is very much not the case with a news website. There is no sense of an ending. There is no way I can be sure I’ve at least decided whether to read “everything”. There is, on most websites, no way I can be sure I’ve seen all that’s been published since I last visited.

And that may be social media’s biggest problem. There’s just too much out there. You can’t read everything, and there’s now a nagging feeling that you’re missing something.

That’s why (as Frank Roche and Paul Hebert have both noted on occasion) curation is so important. We need editors.

I think there’s a real need for this inside organizations as well. As more and more companies adopt social media tools internally, there’s a real value in someone who can pull together the best of information and organize it in logical or easy-to-navigate ways.


🚀 I just relaunched my Vanilla JS Pocket Guides with new code examples and real projects to help tie everything you’ll learn together. Check it out.

Have any questions or comments about this post? Email me at chris@gomakethings.com or contact me on Twitter at @ChrisFerdinandi.

Get Daily Developer Tips