RSS Nirvana: What's the Perfect Number?
If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly battling information overload and time crunch crises. RSS is a simply amazing way to automatically pull stories and information to you without needing to go out and find it each day.
However, I realized recently that I felt a bit buried by the number of feeds that I had to dig through. I must admit that I had been swayed by tech-geek boasts of reading thousands of feeds everyday (how do people do this â€“ are they speed blog readers?). Here I was, with a little over a hundred feeds, and I felt overwhelmed to keep my unread items under 1,000 or 2,000 posts.
I decided I needed to give myself an RSS intervention and trim things down a bit. Over the last week or so, I pruned down to around the 50 mark and now feel a lot happier about firing up Bloglines (I know that many people think that Google Reader is much better, and I may well switch over at some point), my RSS reader.
The key is to try to find the right mix that meets your needs. For me, I realized that I could still get a great take on breaking and interesting stories bubbling out of the mainstream media and the blogosphere by being strategic with RSS. For example, if you read TechCrunch and Mashable “cover to cover” you get a pretty darned good feel for what’s going on in web 2.0, new web products, start ups, and web communities. I then rely on some of my old time faves such as Mathew Ingram and Tony Hung for entertaining and original analysis of all things webby. I also enjoy doing “surgical strikes” into the bowels (so to speak!) of enormous online media sources to pull out information that I’m interested in. For example, BBC News has a great technology feed, and I find a lot of useful fodder for OMC stories from Reuter’s Internet News feed.
Of course, there are times when I want to dive in deeper to find stories from new voices and perspectives, or to simply get a sense of what’s going on in the great galactic sea of the blogosphere and the wider Internets. Robert Scoble, as voracious an RSS reader as they come, offers a feed that displays shared items from his own Google Reader. Therefore, I always have a few hundred stories to peruse that have already been filtered by someone who has dug through thousands of feeds already!
Finally, you need to leave room for the fun stuff. TV Squad is my quick fix of television news and reviews, Valleywag is a fun burst of techie gossip, and I was finally â€“ after about two full years of trying â€“ able to successfully add Mike Lupica’s (just about the best sports writer in the country) New York Daily News column.
How do y’all deploy your RSS feeds?