Spurs and goads

Lately I’ve been awed by the pace, volume and average quality of the links Dan Hill’s been saving to his del.icio.us page; I can’t help but wonder just how Dan finds the time to negotiate all of this material, let alone produce a meaningful encapsulation of it on a daily basis. Even over a short span of time, it counts (to me, anyway) as a fairly impressive accomplishment.

There’s inevitably both a healthy and an unhealthy aspect to my reaction to it, though.

On the plus side, there is firstly the simple pleasure of consuming the stream of links. This is what the promise of affinity-based collaborative filtering was all about: the proposition that an active, lively, and above all tasteful curatorial intelligence would stop down the ungodly torrent of information available on the Web, and produce something like a daily precis of the Good Stuff. (So thanks, Dan!) And there is also the implicit setting of expectations involved: this is the standard by which contributions to the ongoing discussion will be judged.

But there’s also something more akin to jealousy bound up in my reaction, and I have to wonder about that. As long as it results in the desire to consider the world more broadly, think about it more carefully, and contribute to it more regularly and with higher expectations of quality, jealousy is still, narrowly, a good thing. But how easily that shades into something unproductive, even toxic!

My admiration for Dan’s daily output is unalloyed, and on top of that his longer-form writing on City of Sound has truly been something to behold of late. If I can produce writing and insight that is even half as good, on a semi-regular basis, I’ll be well satisfied.

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