WANTED: A better solution for discovering and consuming new media. First things first: It seems inappropriate to call what I’m talking about a “wish list” because…
A) I don’t necessarily intend to shop for and purchase said media, nor do I always want to receive it as a gift. While there’s a bunch of great, free tools out there like Amazon’s Wish List and Wish Radar, these tools are geared more toward making a purchase and not mere consumption.
B) Most wish list tools are shopping-based and don’t cater well to old media like out-of-print books, hard-to-find movies, or retro/legacy games on dead platforms. And what about obscure TV shows never released on DVD? Try adding Out of this World to your Amazon wish list.
C) The media I’m interested in isn’t always released yet. I often put upcoming movies, books, albums, and games on my list that may be a year or more away from a release date. How do you account for these types of things using a wish list system that is based on available/purchasable products?
In short, my media wish list is more like a “To Do” list. I have a “To Play” list for games; a “To Watch” list for movies and TV shows; a “To Read” list for books; and a “To Listen” list for new artists and album I want to check out. I don’t necessarily call all these different lists “To _______ Lists,” but that’s essentially what they are. Their sole purpose is to help me discover new media and keep it on my radar until I’ve had time to watch it, play it, read it, or listen to it.
So how do I keep up with it all? Here is my system…of sorts:
1. Post-Its and Paper Scraps — I am perpetually writing notes-to-self on Post-Its and paper scraps containing unorganized, off-the-cuff lists of things I’ve heard about or read about in my online and offline travels. For example, if I’m browsing a gamer forum and some user recommends a game that sounds like I might enjoy, I’ll write its name down, perhaps alongside a short note that lends some helpful context like: “Shadow of the Comet (PC) – Lovecraftian AG.” If I hear a song I like on the radio while I’m out somewhere, I’ll try to scribble down lyrics so I can look it up later. By the end of any given week, my messenger bag’s outer pocket contains a stash of folded, wadded-up notes that I’ll later re-visit and add to my wish list(s), then toss the paper.
2. Google Docs — My actual media wish list is a series of Google Docs containing separate lists for Movies/TV Shows, Music, Games, and Books. These are, of course, neater than my handwritten notes but still pretty raw and organized. Also, there’s no real sense of priority. Depending on the list, I might add some extra info, like release date/year for movies, platform and genre for games, etc. I like storing this info in Google Docs because I can access and manage my lists as easily as I do email. Perhaps one day I’ll graduate to a more sophisticated Google Spreadsheet, but the Docs get me by for now.
3. Plan-Ahead Shopping & Streaming — When I’m in the mood and can make the time to actually watch/play/read/listen to something, I’ll browse through my wish list(s) ahead of time and pick whatever looks appetizing…followed by a trip to the store, library, Netflix, iTunes, XBMC, torrent site, or wherever it is that I might purchase or download it.
4. Reviews, Recommendations, & Taste Engines — Needless to say, my media wish list is never empty, but it also doesn’t just contain things I stumble upon. I will often seek out and discover new media by consulting a personalized arsenal of review sites, recommendation sites, and taste engines that includes Netflix, Jinni, GoodReads, Amazon, GamerDNA, just to name a few. Then there’s the countless review and preview blogs that entice me to pile it on even thicker. I do get a lot of genuinely great recommendations this way, but as always, it seems more gets added to my lists vs. gets removed.
What this all this boils down to is that I’m approaching a state of media overload and I need a better way to cope with it. Short of quitting my job and devoting all day to playing video games and watching movies (a girl can dream, can’t she?), I need a better solution that will track, prioritize, remind me about, and remember all this media that I plan to consume, whether it’s old, new, or unreleased. Is there a single system out there that can do all this?
The comments are wide open to your suggestions, app recommendations, and/or pithy remarks about my being a media junkie with no life who needs help!