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River of news is now a flood and how not to drown in it

It seems like only yesterday that I started to blog about RSS. In the early days RSS was a geeky protocol and most people did not understand what it was or what it did. Also at the time it seemed very difficult for people to explain what a news feed was without making it sound even more confusing.

River of news

A good analogy is a river of news, it's classed as news because you get the information as it happens. The river analogy works because a feed is being updated regularly with new information. It may even be better to think of fish in a river as the feed items as you can pick out the fish that you want to read. Not to confuse fish with news items as you couldn't read a fish, maybe the fish is carrying a small pouch with the news in it.

Flood of news

Over time more and more web publishers have created feeds for their site which means that there are now more feeds to subscribe to. I now subscribe to 77 feeds (I had to unsubscribe from some) which publish at least 1 post a day so that's a lot of items to read. This has now become a flood of information and now rather than saving time I find I spend way too long with my head in a feed reader.

How to prevent being drowned in news

To stop your feed reader making you less productive you can do a few things to make you feed reading sessions more productive.

  • Unsubscribe from feeds you no longer enjoy reading or are not helping you, not this feed of course.
  • Rather than read every post skim the titles for items you may be interested in.
  • Organise your feeds into groups or folders so that different subjects are together.
  • Use a service like RSS brief that summarises posts.

Following these tips will help to tame the deluge. What would be great is a service that reviews several feeds on a similar topic and then chooses the best items that are then aggregated into a single feed. Something like an human editor for RSS feeds.

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