Slimming Down my Feed Subscriptions (or RSS: Richard Simmons Style)



Before I used NetNewsWire I only had about a dozen weblogs bookmarked in Safari. Every day or two I would open each website (one at a time), and check for new articles. If there were none, then perhaps I would spend some time browsing through the archives. To me, each website was special, and got treated – I suspect – how every weblog author wished his site was treated.

But now that I use a feed reader to manage my favorite weblogs it is almost too easy to add another feed to the list. Making the other feeds a little less important.

Obviously the problem of keeping up with new content has been solved, but another problem has been created: too much incoming information.

It’s completely common to come across one or two good blogs every day. And before long my feed subscriptions are out of control again. Turning the process of reading my favorite blogs from something that should be fun and enjoyable into something that’s more like “YIKES!”

With so many feeds to read, that feeling of actually connecting with someone’s site can be lost. So for me, the answer is to keep my feeds at a level that is as manageable as possible. Which means slim my subscriptions back down to a reasonable number every month or two.

As Khoi put it,

I’ve collected so many RSS feeds that, when I sit down in front of the application, it’s almost as difficult a challenge as having no feed reader whatsoever. With dozens and dozens of subscriptions, each filled with dozens of unread posts, I often don’t even know where to start.

I know how you feel, Khoi. Man does it suck when I have 217 unread articles.

This time I did differently this time to tackle each feed: I went in with a pre-requisite. To be kept, each feed had to fit into one of three categories, and then answer one final question.

The three Categories

I have my feeds organized in groups. Top to bottom it goes: ‘News’, ‘Favorites’, ‘2nds’ and ‘To Watch’.

To begin the slimming process I started at the bottom and worked my way up. Looking at each feed to see if it fell into one of these three categories:

  • Apple / Web / Tech
  • Design / Inspiration
  • Great author

If the feed didn’t land in at least one of those it got the boot. I just don’t have time for anything else. Now it was time to go back to each feed and answer one final question.

The Desciding Factor

Is this feed worth my time and attention?

I used to subscribe to feeds that I felt would give me an edge for posting information and news on my weblog. But sweet mercy if everyone and their fake dog isn’t doing that now. And Lord knows I don’t have time to keep up with rest of the internet.

Now I only read feeds that are beneficial and enjoyable.

Sure, I may not be reading the latest breaking gadget news, but if it’s really worth knowing about I’m sure I’ll see it on Digg, CNN, The NY Times or everyone else’s blog. I’m o.k. being late to the party. I always am in real life.

After the Slimming

I took my list of 75 RSS feeds down to 51. I’d like to get it even slimmer than that. For me, it is more important that I read the websites I want to. The websites that I can connect to what’s being written and who’s writing it. These are sites that I enjoy and thus, are worth my time.