Aggregator = Aggravator

This is probably the archivist coming out in me, because I do not enjoy using aggregators for bringing together my social media updates, news updates, blog posts, etc. On a basic level, I think this is because aggregators take the content out of the context.

This assumption may be a bit biased because I’ve only had long-term experience with Google reader as an aggregator, but since Google Reader seems to be the preferred solution for most people it’s more likely that aggregators are just not for me.

So why is it that aggregators are so aggravating?

I pulled up my old Google Reader account to reassess the issue:

Aggregators are like television. They suck you in and encourage you to watch/read more.

Aggregators are like spam. They encourage you to watch/read things you wouldn’t otherwise.

Aggregators are like my messy desk. They pile things up and only make you feel guilty for not keeping on top of things.

Television, spam, and messy desks are all things I don’t like to have in my life, so it’s no surprise that Google Reader quickly got the heave-ho.

That’s not to say that I don’t see any value in aggregators; as a professional tool they could certainly help one keep abreast of topics, particularly if it was restricted to specific, important professional news and blog sources. Using aggregators as a tool to aggregate all of an organization’s social media updates in one place would also be extremely useful. But like many of these “efficiency improving” tools of the information age, I have to wonder how helpful this constant barrage actually is.

Aggregators have their place, but to me, they’re just aggravators.

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