If you read the title of this post and thought “What the heck is an RSS feed?” you need to start here.
As part of my New Year’s resolution to organize my digital assets, I spent some time recently cleaning up my RSS feeds in Google Reader.
I’m currently subscribed to 234 feeds and have over 1000 new items waiting to be read. I know for a fact that I will never read all those articles, and there may be some feeds among those 234 that I haven’t looked at in months. So why keep them around?
I use Google Reader as a bookmarking tool to help me keep track of blogs that I’ve found interesting, inspiring, unique, or well designed. I also use it to keep up on the latest news, and to follow my friends’ blogs.
I like things to be neat and tidy, so I’ve organized all of my feeds into categories:
See that first category there? The one called Daily Reads? That one’s important. So is the fact that Google allows you to put a single feed into multiple categories.
Every feed I subscribe to gets put into one of ten categories: Education, Entertainment, Freelance and Business, Life and Home, Music, News, Personal Blogs, Tech Blogs, Tech Pundits, or Web Design Blogs. (Just to be clear, these are categories I’ve created for myself. You can create your own categories in Google Reader and name them whatever you’d like.)
The feeds I read every single day also get put into the Daily Reads category. Using this system, I can open my Daily Reads folder when I sit down at my computer every morning, and I know I’m getting the content most important to me. 174 articles are a lot easier to get through than 1000+, and I still don’t read every one. I skim the headlines and the photos until something catches my eye.
If I happen to have extra time, I then peruse through my other subscriptions. I have enough varied content that I can always find something interesting to read no matter what kind of mood I’m in.
That’s it. That’s the secret to my blog reading success. How do you manage your RSS feeds? I’d love to hear about your feed management system in the comments.
This post was inspired by the Lifehacker article: “How Can I Organize My RSS Feeds So They’re More Manageable?” I suggest you read through the comments section of that post for lots of great tips and tricks.