I learned two lessons today, both about organization and the interweb. Glean away, dear reader.
Try making your bookmarking technique a time-saver over being a site-saver.
It’s not so much about saving every website you want to visit again, but making it easy to do just that. I’ve always been a proponent of well-organized bookmark folders, but am taking it a step further (call me a newbie for what you’re about to hear, if this is standard for you, but as Ralph Wiggum would say, “I’m learnding!”). I’m just getting into subscribing to RSS feeds and using new ways of exploring the interweb, and am beginning to make use of the Firefox bookmark toolbar. This way, when I don’t know what a word means, I can click Dictionary.com immediately instead of Bookmarks > Define > Dictionary.com. I’ll save two valuable seconds each time. I think after checking Dictionary.com in this manner four-hundred and fifty times, I’ll have given myself fifteen minutes to play a round of Desktop Tower Defense (click only if you dare!). Despite my chagrin, I take organization seriously and now that I’ve found a slightly improved system, I can’t imagine how I lived without it. Must’ve been the same way for those folks test-driving the first horseless carriage.
If you bookmarked a website and haven’t visited in a while, check it out.
A few years ago, a writer named Zach Everson had an entertaining website filled with short nonfiction stories detailing the funny, the unbelievable, and the embarassing lives of he and his friends. The stories were always entertaining and linked in clever ways (Zach used tags before the blogosphere knew what tags were) so a reader could find recurring characters, plot lines, subjects, etc. One day, Zach changed the direction of his website to focus on his professional skills and resume. I had no plans to hire Zach, and his stories were nowhere to be found, so I stopped reading.
I kept the bookmark, however. I haven’t looked at the website in years, definitely not since entering my MFA program. Then today, while conducting the aforementioned bookmark cleanup, I found the link the Zach’s website and clicked. Turns out he’s writing a great blog about improving one’s writing as craft. Having that sort of website on my radar screen is right up my alley, nowadays, and I’ve subscribed to his RSS feed (how’s that for linking tip one with tip two?). It reminds me of what I’ve heard about scientists and blackboards. So the tale goes, a scientist does not erase any mistakes they make on the blackboard. They cross it out but leave it legible. They’ll still have their path history as a guide of where not to go again as they strive for success. I’ll say the same for websites. Sometimes things change, and your interest wanes. But file the bookmark away – it may peak your interest later.