Passive Learning

October 21, 2015

Ever feel like you're wasting time scrolling through your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram timeline? Me too. Don't get me wrong - I don't think it's always a waste of time, it's actually quite valuable in a lot of cases. First, entertainment and decompression are valuable in and of themselves. But sprinkled throughout my Twitter timeline are hidden gems of learning - truly interesting or useful links.

That density of useful bits is inconsistent at best. What if there was a service that was able to aggregate the useful stuff that you've captured throughout the day and present that to you in a Twitter-like feed? I wonder if that would be a compelling service, or if the randomness of the useful bits in a mostly vapuous feed acts like a variable reward schedule.

I personally think I'd get good use out of a service that sent you back bits of learning (for lack of a better phrase) you've collected explicitly as something that's useful to you. Sent it back at a later date on a cadence. It'd almost be a bookmarking service, but you're bookmarking small tweet-sized bits of information (with attached link, etc).

The key is you wouldn't be actively learning or re-learning when this service sent you back bits. It'd be presented in a familiar format: a social feed that you'd scan when you have a couple minutes, or when you're done checking Twitter and Facebook but still want something seemingly mindless to occupy yourself with. It wouldn't be mindless though - it'd be a useful activity in sheeps clothing.