Balance

8th July 2015

Ingest, Process, Expound (IPE) is how I like to think about the process of content creation. We ingest information through our senses, process that which we have ingested and then we have a choice about if and how to expound and express to others our thoughts on those topics.

The extent to which we each proportionate these components varies from person to person and there’s no right or wrong answer in the absolute, but each of us at different times of our lives should be cognisant of the need to balance these activities.

For example my wife and many others I know are content to read and read and read. Absorbing and ingesting so much information but after processing it all, choose to expound that information verbally only to a handful of people close to them. (Nudge nudge to my wife: start a blog please!) That works well for her and many others and that’s fine. Honestly it’s a relatively traditional approach too.

To contrast, I also follow many people on Twitter that read Apple focused articles written by Apple users that don’t use other platforms (Google, Microsoft etc) leading to misleading conclusions and when they expound they create nothing more than republished opinions, rather than processed, refined, original conclusions.

Before the Internet we were mostly stuck with one newspaper, a handful of local radio stations and a more insular selection of information to ingest. Beyond ingestion, if you wanted to expound your thoughts to a wider audience there were even more scarce options available.

Given the former no longer applies why aren’t people seeking out wider, more diverse information to educate themselves and push the boundaries of their knowledge?

Not only that it’s become possible to expound your thoughts in blogs, and podcasts that can potentially reach hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of people.

More sources, more voices, more choices: but it’s up to you what and how you ingest and expound.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I ingesting too much information, and am hence unable to process it well?
  • Am I ingesting too much of the same information and losing a broader perspective?
  • Am I ingesting enough information to process and expound a useful, independent conclusion?
  • Am I taking enough time to parse and process the information to expound a useful conclusion?
  • Am I expounding my thoughts in the right way, on the right medium and to the right audience?

For me personally, I’ve taken time away from reading Twitter, Apple, Blogs and the like and I feel better for the break. I needed to rebalance for a while and it’s helped return some badly needed perspective. I’ve reshuffled the sites and blogs I read, the podcasts I listen to and broadened the information I’m ingesting.

That’s great but soon it’ll be time to get back to expounding again, but this time I’ll be focusing on the audience and method that most people care about, at least as it applies to me.

My words of caution are thus: Reading or listening to the same people, the same sources of information year in, year out, then fast-forwarding through the processing stage and expounding hastily via a blog or a podcast feels comfortable; like a warm glove in winter. It’s nice, it slips on easily, it can be popular to a niche crowd, but is it truly balanced? Useful? Interesting? Does it add value?

I can’t tell you what the right balance is though, because you have to find the right balance for you. Balance matters. In fact it matters far more than you might think.