Three years of running a link blog – visualized
In early 2010 I decided to track how much time I waste reading articles on the web beside my RSS subscriptions. It was a response to the realization of my surging addiction to Hacker News.
From that moment on I linked to almost every piece of online writing I have read, carefully tagged it and published on a blog called Supervolatile.com – a name reflecting the state of the human memory flooded with internet trivia. Fortunately, my goal was not to reduce the amount of time I spend reading online, but to measure that time. Otherwise it would be an utter failure.
Spending three years just to track my readership habits obviously wasn’t enough. I also wanted to find out if there are any meaningful trends behind all of it. Can several hundreds of data points reveal some deep truth about what I’m really interested in? Spoiler alert: probably not. But nevertheless I decided to put together a visualization that shows all the articles and topics I have read in that period, grouped by six major meta tags.
It is also a take on how to present a large blog archive (almost 1500 posts) on one page, in an interactive, browsable form.
My initial goals were mostly unfulfilled. I only know that I spent a LOT of time reading online, not to mention the effort to keep track and visualize all that content. I also didn’t reach the enlightenment of truly understanding my own interests. But one thing did work out: forcing yourself to write even a short comment about an article makes you more likely to remember it. It may also turn you into an inexhaustible source of random trivia during lunch conversations, as it has happened to me. You have to decide for yourself if that’s an advantage.
So here is the data and it is up to you to draw any conclusions from it. Other than that I clearly have too much time.
The code I used to create this visualization is available on GitHub.