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How do people deal with the torrent of information pouring down on us all? What sources can't they live without? We regularly reach out to prominent figures in media, entertainment, politics, the arts, and the literary world to hear their answers. This is drawn from a conversation with The Fug Girls, Heather Cocks (left) and Jessica Morgan, creators of the blog Go Fug Yourself and authors of books including the upcoming Messy

Heather: For me first thing in the morning, I roll over and grab my iPhone. I can scroll through that while I'm getting the kids up and trying to make them eat breakfast/catching the bits of waffle they're throwing at me. The first thing I check is my email, to make sure nothing has exploded (literally or figuratively) with the website, and then I pop on Facebook and Twitter. I just want to get a quick catch-all: What's up with family and work (email), what's up with friends (Facebook), and what's up with the world (Twitter). Often I do this via the Flipbook app, which syncs prettily with my Facebook and Twitter feeds, so it's fewer apps to open and close. Sometimes I'll do it on my iPad instead. Or sometimes I'll just wake up and try to play Draw Something, which is never a good idea because I can't draw even after caffeine, much less before.

Jessica: I also roll over and look at my iPhone and check email to make sure nothing has caught on fire with work; my personal email, and both our work emails. I then usually roll out of bed—so much rolling!—and stumble into my office, where I look at Go Fug Yourself, our Twitter feeds, the Go Fug Yourself Facebook, and my personal Facebook on my laptop while the coffee is brewing. Fifteen minutes on Facebook, Twitter, and my email, and I'm basically caught up with my universe, at least in a basic sense. I also have a red Moleskine day planner where I write notes to myself and keep track of appointments and social engagements, so I take a look at that too, to make sure I haven't forgotten what I'm supposed to be on any given day. For someone who loves the Internet as much as I do, I have never found an online calendar that works for me like a paper datebook. Something about the act of writing something down makes my brain hold onto information more effectively in terms of scheduling.
 
Heather: Once the kids are squared away, I report to my home office, sign onto instant messenger, and check my pages. I start with Go Fug Yourself, to check through the comments, make sure the entries all published correctly, etc. I click around for what's happening in the world. I check our image sites to see if I've missed any crazy outfits. I re-check my three email accounts (personal, our joint site account, and our separate work accounts that get mail from people like our publisher, our agent, our lawyer, accountant, and all those people on Team Fug). I tend to do all this with multiple browser tabs open, so I can click back and forth at will. I seriously doubt this makes me more efficient, but it feels like it does, so I go with it.
 
Lunch, I eat at my desk, and I use that time to check in with sites I read for fun: Sports Illustrated, a gossipy message board called Snarkfest, Lainey Gossip, Blind Gossip, Grantland. And any links I've saved up that people have tweeted, like longer-form journalism that requires some focus. I often work while I eat, just because I have a very compact eight hours before I'm on full-time mom duty again, usually solo, because my husband works really late. This is fine, but it means I have to fit in my work, my grocery runs, any appointments for me or the kids, and any exercise into a very tight span—which in turn means that my lunch break is never actually a break. But I've found that I can make it feel like a break if I don't check any of my for-fun reads until I've got a sandwich on a plate and a Diet Coke next to my laptop, so that's why I try to structure it that way.

Jessica: I too tend to do all my fun, non-work related reading on my laptop during lunch. I am checking email, Twitter, Facebook, and the site throughout the day, but I try not to do pleasure Internet reading until lunch (I do not always succeed, especially if I go out to get the mail and US Weekly has arrived). Heather and I read many of the same sites. I spend a lot of time on NYMag.com (we write for them, but they are always a pleasure to read—I really love Vulture's TV coverage).  I also spend a lot of time throughout the week marking possible articles for Fugs and Pieces, which is the weekly round-up of interesting articles that I curate and publish on GFY on Friday afternoons. To keep track of that, I use a Firefox extension called Read Something. It basically allows you to make dropdown checklist of URLs you want to return to, and read, in the browser toolbar. It's SO useful. Those come from a variety of different places, including links I've stumbled across on Twitter or Facebook. 
 
Heather: I am a terrible consumer of things these days—I have to be so disciplined with myself that I usually rely on Jessica to tell me if there's anything I'm missing. I read Sports Illustrated online at least three times a week. I read New York magazine's blogs regularly, too. I go to Vulture probably once a day, and The Cut probably once or twice a week, as my personal tastes are more for pop culture than fashion. I check news sites multiple times a day, often CNN or the stories Yahoo aggregates for me on a My Yahoo page, so... you know, Associated Press, Reuters. I visit EW.com and Zap2It.com daily or every other day for entertainment news, specifically in TV. On a more relaxed weekly or semi-weekly level I read a lot of TV critics, like Alan Sepinwall. My regular weekly giggle is Price Peterson's pictorial recaps of The Vampire Diariesseriously, they are so, so funny.
 
Every week or two or three I'll check on on the more sporadically updated sites, like Mindy Kaling's blog, or friends and family sites. I read a couple food blogs, too, like Good. Food. Stories. I often divvy it up and go on targeted benders. Like, Peter King writes about the NFL on Mondays and Tuesdays, so I'm trained to have a bigger general appetite for sports on those days (unless it's the day after a specific game or event that I want to read more about). And then maybe on Wednesday I'll pop by all my food blogs and start getting meal ideas for the weekend, and then finish out the week catching up on whatever gossip Jessica and I didn't already hash out over IM. I am quite possibly the only person in the world who does not spend a single minute of any day on any site related to cats—or other animals—saying or doing things.

Jessica: Twitter is becoming my go-to source if something huge happens, so I would say that I do get my first taste of breaking news on Twitter, generally. Then I pop over to the New York Times (I have a subscription) or the L.A. Times (ditto, including the actual paper Thursday-Sunday) for the actual news stories. New York mag, too, especially for politics or news that is New York-based. I like to see who gets a huge news story out fastest, too, so when something major is happening I tend to look at the New York Times, New York, and CNN to see who presses "publish" first.
 
I get a lot of actual magazines: Bon Appetit, Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker, Us Weekly, People, and Elle. That is a nice physical clutch of media for me to consume on weekends and when I'm off the computer. Those aren't really news as much as information about a variety of things, but it's nice to read something that's on paper, and I like the long-form New Yorker stories, especially the ones about how we're all going to die of some disease we thought had been eradicated. In terms of other kinds of info, I read several cooking blogs -- Good.Food.Stories, for sure, as well as Smitten Kitchen, which I love. Grantland, definitely. I read LaineyGossip and Celebitchy at least once a week. Time.com I also swing by once a week or so.
 
I try not to read too many other fashion critic blogs because I don't want to let my honest opinion be swayed by what someone else said, but at the end of a week, I catch up on TomandLorenzo.com and RedCarpetFashionAwards, as well as stuff like Design Sponge and a variety of personal blogs of friends. I'd say I check sites like The Atlantic and Slate—so, news and opinion—like three or four times a week. It all really depends on what's happening in the world, too. If we're in the middle of the World Series or March Madness, I am reading more Sports Illustrated or ESPN. During the heat of the election cycle, I'm on the New York Times and the Daily Intel section of NY Mag. During the Oscars, I'm making the rounds of the celeb gossip and fashion sites, and during the launch of the new TV season, it's all Vulture, all the time. When I am burned out, it's a lot of me looking at hotels on Jetsetter.
 
Heather: You know how iTunes makes people less interested in the album? That's how it is for me with news. I'll go on Twitter and read individually tweeted links from various news sources or friends, and that has taken the place of me visiting whole sites on a regular basis. As the proprietor of a site, that is terrible to say. Oops. The only chat program I use is AOL Instant Messenger, because Jessica and I are in constant contact on it all day long. I don't listen to podcasts or stream music, because I have too much TV on my DVR to try and catch up on while I work, and I can do that while I skim news sites and type, so it befits my type of multitasking better. I am at my computer all the time all day, writing, so I don't want to consume any more forms of media through my laptop than I have to. I hate watching TV on my computer and I don't bother much with Internet video.

Jessica: We tweet a lot. We love Twitter. Ditto Facebook. Both of those we use for work and on a more personal basis (although our official Go Fug Yourself Twitter, @fuggirls, is essentially also our personal Twitter). I love Instagram, so I use that a lot, both to share photos and to get a nice visual break in the middle of my day. We are on AIM all the time—I am almost always signed into the Go Fug Yourself Gmail, so Gchat isn't useful to me. I am not a podcast listener, because I'd rather be watching TV, and if I am in the car or at the gym, I need to be listening to music. But I don't really listen to music while I'm working, for whatever reason. I do watch a lot—a lot—of TV. Mostly on my actual TV, but I love HuluPlus and HBOGo to catch up on stuff I missed if need be. I cancelled Netflix because I can use both of those on my iPad. I just caught up with all of Game of Thrones on HBOGo and it was pretty great to be able to do that in bed.
 
Heather: I close out the day with several dramatic readings of Where The Wild Things Are, usually by memory. I don't go out much because my husband usually isn't home early enough to babysit the kids, and by the time he is home I'm way too tired to go back out (such a sad crone I am). After my kids pass out, I have to go back to the laptop and get work done for the next day, so that I'm free during business hours to get other erranding done. But I don't like being on my laptop any more than I have to, and in fact try as hard as I can to never open it on weekends; I'm usually successful, at least until Sunday night, when the cycle begins anew. However, my iPhone has made me a little more starved for stimulation in my "off time" so I find myself unwinding by playing word games on it, when I should be resting my eyes entirely. I love reading actual pages of stuff, though, so even with my Kindle—which is amazing, and perfect for the gym—I like to read a magazine or some print book chapters before I go to bed. It feels so decadent to read something in a tangible published form. Delicious. I also love to do crosswords. There's always that one last check of the email.... Although I've been trying harder and harder to put it down and go with a book instead.

Jessica: I definitely do some work at night, more often than not. I would say I go out twice a week, on average, but I come home and check back in with Twitter, Facebook, email, etc.—so it's definitely not that I go out and then come home and go right to bed. I play games on my iPad in bed sometimes—Draw Something, Words with Friends, and The Sims, mostly. But I always always always read something that is not on my computer before I go to sleep. Sometimes it's a magazine, but it's generally a book—either on my Kindle or a hard copy. I am always reading something. The idea of not having a book to read kind of makes me panic. I was on a plane recently and I opened my Kindle to discover that the battery was totally dead. It was a horrifying moment. Luckily, the flight was only 45 minutes, or I might have had to pillage someone else's reading stash.
 
Once I plug in the iPhone to be charged and toss it into the laundry pile—the laundry pile is right next to my charger and for some reason, I have a habit of gently placing the phone on the laundry as if putting it to bed—I tuck in with my book or my magazine.
 
Heather: For me, I think the combination of being a parent and a blogger means I consume less media. Yeah, I'm on my computer all the time, but I have to be pretty laser-focused on my own work or else it won't get done. I really, really have to pick and choose, and I am doing much less discovery. Honestly, half the time I rely on the links Jessica puts in our weekly Friday roundup, Fugs & Pieces, and again, I know that if anything really awesome is happening online people will email or tweet it at us. In fact, Twitter has allowed me to be much less lazy about seeking out information because it pushes it right to me, and often in those little 140-character morsels. I can search for in-depth coverage of what really interests me while still getting a decent overview of everything. And right now, with as busy as I feel, sometimes media snacks are the way to go. It's like how people say a bunch of small meals a day are better for you than three long, larger ones. That is exactly my approach to my media diet.

Jessica: I keep telling myself that I should do a cleanse and, like, take a vacation where I can't get email or read the Internet, and even in the telling of it to myself I realize that I don't really want to do that. I enjoy Facebook and Twitter and whatnot too much. I think it's smart not to spend too much time chained to your phone at the expense of paying attention to the people around you and the actual moment you're experiencing, and I try to be mindful of that, but I also have experienced great community thanks to the Internet. In other words, I love you, Internet. Never leave me!

 

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