Balloon Classic 2009 by Jerry Bolton c/o Aunty Monkey

I’m often asked by readers about reading. “How do you find the time to read?” “You must read a lot?” “What’s your secret to good reading?” Truth is I am a slow reader. If I don’t concentrate fully on my reading I find other ideas will creep into my mind and whole paragraphs go by before I realize I was off somewhere else and not comprehending the words in front of me. I then re-read those paragraphs once again. But the point is I read.

Those of you who have read to this point must like reading or you might be stuck in a jail cell or a hot air balloon and this is the only written word you have in your possession. For the latter group, welcome to Techlife. I don’t welcome the people who like to read, as they need very little motivation.  This column is aimed squarely  at the prisoners and balloonists of the world. You see prisoners and balloonists share the confines of a small space and limited contact with the outside world. In addition these two groups have niche interests so while they might read a general consumer publication they also might enjoy something written just for them.

Where do you find your niche?

Techlife reads c/o Google Reader

Techlife reads c/o Google Reader

Here’s where it gets interesting, in the past 30 days I have read more than 1000 articles.  (In reality the reading occurred on 22 days during the past 30, as I do take days off.) Diving deeper into the stats, I have only gotten to read 10% of the content from across 115 subscriptions. You likely imagine my postal worker cringing as he gets my mail each day. Lest you forget prisoners and balloonists, this is Techlife  and these subscriptions are all digital,  portable and free. Try Google Reader to see your own stats, and enjoy the in-sync mobile web browser version too. It’s my first bookmark on my smartphone.

Let’s assume our incarcerated readers are trying to better themselves. Finding a new interest and pursuing it with a passion might help a parole board see how you are a changed person ready to re-enter society. Construction would give you a chance to get hired and learn a skill in a trade. Start reading anything and everything on construction. Using a site like Technoorati you might find a site like “Green Building Elements” or  “A Daily Dose of Architecture.” Each site added to your list of subscriptions means more writers, more content and varied view points on the niche areas you are targeting.

115 subscriptions might seem like a lot, even if I am only reading 10% or less of each one. But finding unique sources on your own niche topics is how you become an expert? Use the sites you uncover to lead you further jumping off points. On “A Daily Dose of Architecture”, you will see on the left sidebar 10 entries under bookmarks leading toward new publications. A bit further down the sidebar offers the “66 Most Popular A/D Websites” and then below that “33 Favorites (not in the above list of 66)”.

Where do you go next? Balloonists your turn to reply.