July 8, 2007

Managing my feeds

Posted in Life, Me at 9:09 pm by mj

I’m not dead! Woohoo!

Since moving to Google Reader, I’ve realized just how much stuff I’d been missing doing things manually all this time. And, as with everybody who starts reading feeds, I’ve found it’s completely overwhelming–and trying to read too much is counter productive. (I’ve tried to share interesting posts on my link blog, but original thinking and writing has suffered.)

I knew this, but it all came to a head a few days ago when Scoble started putting LOL Cats and other crap in his link blog. Now, that in itself isn’t too bad, but one big problem with subscribing to the RSS feed of a shared Google Reader account is you don’t know whose feed you’re reading. You only see the name of the original blog and original author. So I spent an hour trying to track down if maybe Google had messed up, or some other feed was spewing trash, before I realized it was Scoble.

And that he was posting, on average, something like 20 stories a day.

And some of the blogs I thought I was already subscribed to were really coming from Scoble’s feed.

And many other blogs he linked to I was already subscribed to. (Call it osmosis.)

In other words, I didn’t have a handle on my feeds.

So, since I was already feeling miserable this weekend due to my allergies blocking up my ears, I pruned my feeds. Post too much? Gone. Low signal to noise? Gone. Have to click 2 or more times to get to mediocre content (ahem, Artima)? Gone.

I feel so much better about it, and I think I’m down to a reasonable enough traffic that I can at least get through the software, industry analysis, and humor blogs every day. And, while I didn’t completely unsubscribe from all partial feeds, I have segregated them to their own folder, which I will check far less often.

The diff on my OPML file is ugly. I’m keeping it for future reference.

I’m also abandoning Google’s “sort by auto” feature, which prioritizes feeds that are updated less often. It gives a false sense of how much progress I’ve made.

I have in mind a few interesting (to me) things to write about, and with my feeds now under control, and feeling better about things at work, I should get to them in the coming weeks.

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