CleverClogs has an awesome post on RSS Reading the smart way.
For me I like creating topics and River of News reading, this way I can choose a batch of feeds by topic and read mixed posts (I don’t want to have to click on each feed).
Another handy tool is reading by relevancy, rather than date (some RSS readers track your reading behaviour)…this means that it will rank posts it thinks you like higher…some also do this with your feeds, it will change the order of your subscriptions according to how often you read those feeds.
Create search feeds across your subscriptions (smart feeds), or filter feeds before you add them to your RSS Reader…another choice is to read your feed set by machine tags or your own tags, see MyFeedz (each tag has a feed).
Like Marjolein I find Feed Digest the best to filter/spliced/remove duplicates/re-syndicate…there are plenty of others on the market.
You can use a blog engine and run a search term within a blog and subscribe to that feed…this way you only read posts that have that term, but I find using Feed Digest more sophisticated.
What about if you want to subscribe to a category of a blog, ie. if it doesn’t have a feed for each category…just use Blogdigger.
Alternative is author:johnt subject:folksonomy…but author is not unique enough.
If you click on the focus link from one of the hits you can grab the blogID, then try blogID:302088 subject:folksonomy…but this doesn’t have as many hits.
What about plugging your OPML Reading List (Feed set) into megite or TailRank, here you can read most important posts according to popularity…this means you aren’t going to read all the posts in your feeds, just the popular ones, plus these services recommend posts…see Sphere for more on recommendations.
I decided to transfer some feeds from my RSS Reader to my phone, I basically read feeds that tend to have long posts on my phone for the train ride to and from work…I haven’t got time to read long posts at work. The other point is that I can be reading feeds when I’m away from my computer, is that sad?
I’m also reading feeds in my start page, a start page (or personal widget page) has things that an RSS Reader doesn’t, so I need to use my start page as part of my PIM tools. It turns out that some start pages have powerful RSS Reader widgets, so I can read some feeds here that aren’t in my RSS Reader.
Same goes with Gmail, I have some feeds in the webclips feature, and I also read some RSS to email content (see the hack), this way I can read feeds in Gmail. Sometimes feeds get lost in your RSS Reader, so I read some essentials in Gmail, as I open my email everyday, whereas I might not open my RSS Reader everyday.
And I really like Marjolein’s point about different ways of getting feed content eg. system tray alerts, SMS, email, etc…and also her mention of keeping new feeds in a test folder.
Some RSS readers can track how infrequent a feed has been and notify you that a feed hasn’t posted in a while, and asks you if you still want to keep it, or you can set it on auto delete.
Something I don’t subscribe to, but I have available on my blog is RSS to audio file (Talkr), this enables you to listen to feeds as you work or download them for later. Then there is RSS to mobile audio (VoiceIndigo) where you can listen to feed content on your phone…these can even be streamed.
Another important point I’ve mentioned before is that blog and news engine search term feeds and social bookmark tag feeds have loads of posts that can be overwhelming. If you surf the blogosphere enough you will find blogs that are already monitoring these services, so all you have to do is follow a few blogs to know the latest on a topic.
Further to this you begin to notice that some blogs you read are tracking some of the other blogs you read, so sometimes I drop a few subscriptions, as I know the blog I read, reads the blogs I dropped, so I won’t miss anything by letting them go (well I might miss stuff, but you know what I mean).
I usually follow about five blogs for each topic…topics like OPML, RSS, folksonomy, search…topics like library, km I follow up to 20 blogs for each. This may sound like a lot of posts to read/scan, but it beats reading relentless content from a blog search feed or tag feed, or a social bookmarks tag feed.
If you do follow search feeds, it’s important to remove duplicates, by perhaps splicing all these feeds at Feed Digest and removing duplicates, not sure if some RSS Readers have this feature built in, I know Feeds 2.0 collates similar stories as part of its memetracking feature, but this is not removing duplicates.
Sometimes if I haven’t looked at my RSS Reader for 6 or 7 days it may be loaded with over a thousand posts, the best thing for me is to set reading by relevancy, so I read the one’s I like first. Another option is to read by machine tags (eg. MyFeedz, Feeds 2.0, WizAg), so I’m reading by topic’s I like first.
Currently I use Google Reader, it is so fast, the “Extended view” can be set to mark posts “as read” as you scroll, but when you have to catch up the “List view” is best for scanning…any posts to read later can be sent to your “starred posts” with a simple click. It also has a great link blog/clippings feature.
I’ve found RSS is addictive, sometimes you have to let go and drop feeds, you can’t be aware of everything.
I’ve found RSS content is overwhelming, sometimes you have to learn methods to overcome the overload.
Most of all I find RSS enlightening, as I can now be aware of so much that is happening like never before.
Recap of tools/methods to speed/reduce/spread feed content:
- Try to avoid general search feeds, social bookmark tag feeds (Find blogs that cover this stuff)
- Reduce feed subscriptions if another feed already covers the topic or posts from that feed
- River of News
- Personalised Reading Behaviour (Relevancy)
- Rank frequently read feeds
- Auto-delete feeds
- Auto memetracking/collating similar posts
- Test folder
- Smart feeds (search feed across your subscriptions/OPML)
- Machine tags (by machine topic)
- Search feed within a blog, even a blog category
- Personalised Memetracker (read content from your OPML based on popularity/relevancy)
- Start page
- RSS to email, RSS to IM, RSS to SMS
- System tray, sidebar, browser, cursor trail, real desktop widget, etc…
- Phone (mobile device) email or RSS Reader
- RSS to audio file
- Audio RSS Reader
- RSS to mobile audio
- RSS audio streamed to mobile
- Choose your RSS Reader carefully, Google Reader is hot at the moment!