RSS Bankruptcy

The other day I declared RSS Bankruptcy.

Simply put, the approach of having 250+ RSS feeds categorized across dozens of topical folders in Google Reader had reached the point of being unsustainable. I had too much to read (often 1400+ articles if I didn’t touch it all day) and too little time to do it. I in fact came to dread reading my RSS feeds due to the sheer volume, yet I feared missing something important.

Talking inspiration from a 43 Folders post from a few years ago with a few twists of my own, I did the following:

  1. Exported my OPML file of what became my former feed list.
  2. Saved an HTML copy of the Google Reader page listing my subscriptions.
  3. Deleted all RSS feeds and folders from Google Reader.
  4. Went through my exported list of feeds by hand to determine which ones to subscribe to again.
  5. Categorized each feed in one of three folders: Read First, Read Next and Someday.

In the end, I had knocked down my list of RSS feeds from 250+ to 120. I also had three folders that allow me to quickly pick off what is important to read:

  • Read First is exactly what it sounds like. If I have a little time but not a lot, I dive into this folder first to catch up on news articles and any feed I determined was worth reading no matter what. These are usually time sensitive articles or they are authors who’s writing I so admire that if they write something, it is usually worth my attention.
  • Read Next is what I get to if I have some more time and aren’t typically time sensitive. I may go through Read Next once every day or two, typically in a longer session as this maybe a few hundred articles by the time I get to it.
  • Someday is what I get to on a slow day. These are not time sensitive articles. Maybe they are a company or person site that I’ve wanted to keep an eye on. I wouldn’t shed a tear if I don’t get to the Someday folder in days or maybe even a week.

It is day three of this approach it has revolutionized my method for consuming information on the Internet. I am not constantly struggling to keep up with my RSS subscriptions. I monitor the Read First folder when I get a few minutes here and there during the day, tackle Read Next typically at night if time allows, and then Someday whenever I feel like it.

Next up…my Twitter follower list.