I remember sitting in a kayak in a pool just off Milford Sound looking down at the algae bloom that fed the sandflies. We weren’t there long before we paddled out into the still, inky black depths of the Sound. Seals played in the water. If we had paddled six hours down the canyon, toward the ocean, we would have seen whales cresting.
On our way back into town, we pulled over to stare in awe at the vast glaciers high up in the mountains. Our guide filled her water bottle from the stream of runoff and took a drink without any kind of filters or purifications. We followed in kind — how often do you get to drink something *this* pure?
Most of today’s content can be sorted into rivers and pools.
The flow of content that you scroll past will vary depending on how many tributaries you invite in. Every subscription or follow or like is an invitation to a new tributary.
Follow enough of them; your feed feels like a class five rapid. Maybe it’s fun, but it’s fast and the best you can hope for is to grab a few headlines, hope your gear stays dry, and that you aren’t drowning by the end of it.
Every river starts at a source, usually a tiny pond or lake somewhere high up. The water might come from a spring or glacial melt and is often purest at the top.
You know — bottled from the source.
As the water starts to move it mixes with other sources and races downhill. By the time the flow reaches the mouth of the river, it is impossible to know what water started where.
Most of the content on your feed is a curational effort. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I liken it to the librarian who takes time to put together a little display about books on specific topics each week. Without their efforts, I might never know where to start my library searches. Other times, curation is a PR play — I have a product launching, you have an audience of people who would be interested.
Other times, ideas are picked, mixed, slapped with ads, and shown to you for the express purpose of making money off content they don’t own. It’s murky water. How do you know? Some publications pay more money to release more water into the stream than other sources — they call it a business model.
When I find something I really like, I walk upstream to where it all started — usually a cold, calm little pool of pure content. Follow the authors, the creators, and those who are credited to the place where their ideas come from.
Bottle it from the source. It tastes better.
Originally published at https://www.dtpennington.com on July 22, 2019.