Growing up I was told that I had a learning disability. Some form of dyslexia, I think, I don’t remember exactly what it was. I don’t really think about it that much now days because I don’t think its holding me back any. But, I have started to think that the reason I enjoy using feed readers so much is because of whatever learning disability I had, or have is. Also, how I use a feed reader as a tool to stay afloat could probably be used by others to achieve spectacular results.
I used to take these tests every other year or so. I remember them taking a whole day. They would ask me to do things like remember a series of numbers then repeat the series back to the proctor in reverse order. In another test they would equate words with symbols then display a page with only those symbols on them and ask me to interpret page into words. Some tests involved numbers, others involved grammar, and part was an oral interview about my life and how I dealt with school. The tests were used to test my cognition. How did information make it from the outside world into my head and what ways were best for me.
I was really bad at the reverse number thing. I couldn’t really go more then like 4 numbers. Holding things in my head has never been something I was good at.
Around my senior year in high school my parents got me a book about going to college and having a learning disability. If I can remember what it was called I will link to it here, but I can’t. The book had some good information, but there was one part that stuck out to me. It was something like.
You don’t have to read everything. What you need to figure out is what your professor wants you to get out of the reading. Then just answer that question. Also, if you enjoy something read it, but don’t waste time reading things that you only partially need to know.
It was an epiphany, It was this bright line that has followed me since. Up to this point I had felt as if I was failing at reading. I didn’t read everything that teachers assigned. Most cases, I’ll admit it, I was bored to tears by the reading, but other times, I just couldn’t read as fast as others.
In that moment though these two things in my life formed a new working theory for my studies. The recognition that I only needed to get out of reading what was needed for class mixed with all that testing helped me to realize that reading was a tool to gather information, and not the final goal. By understanding what I was looking for before I dove into it would help me at a bare minimum keep up with others. I realized that I just needed better tools.
At that time feed reading was just a glimmer in Dave Winer’s eye, but I was pre-destined to be a RSS user. Feed readers are the best tool for me to read a large amount of material, and walk away with some understand of what I just read. It is uniquely fitting to my cognition.
That said this tool that lets me stay afloat, should give everyone else super human reading powers. If I started with slightly broken cognition, and this tool is like my crutch, then for everyone else it should make them faster.
The reason why I think way to much about this stuff is that it has helped me out a lot.