If you are going to read, then comment
I’ve really taken to heart the principles of the low-information diet recently. You can spend lifetimes just reading newspapers, online articles, blog posts, and Buzzfeed lists, and you’d end up with nothing to show for it. These are the empty carbs of the internet. Sometimes I’ll catch myself on an online information binge and when I do, I usually feel similar to how I’d feel after an eating binge. Blergh.
So now, whenever I catch myself in an online reading cycle, I try to recover a bit of value by adding my voice. If I’m reading a blog post, I try to leave a comment. Even just a “thanks for writing that, I thought it was interesting” is a valuable thing for somebody who is writing posts on their own time, and could use some encouragement.
If I’ve taken the time to look somebody up on Twitter or Linkedin, I try to leave them a message, saying “Hi, I just came across your profile and it looks like you’re working on some cool things. See you around!”
If I catch myself on Facebook looking up an old friend, I try to drop them a message and say “Hey, I was just thinking about you today… I hope you’re doing well.”
It’s not much, but at least it’s something. Just reading, is nothing.
Online consumption is time-consuming and value-poor, so if you see an opportunity to connect with somebody else in the process, then don’t let it pass by.