Stay updated: organize your feeds!

Post date 2008-01-18
Category Writings

It all started so innocently. I mentioned to Jon Palmer that I got all giddy when I was using a few web sites and had to check back every five minutes for updates. "Oh? Why don't you use a feed reader?", he asked. Back then, RSS could mean Really Stinky Soup for all I knew. "Feed reader wha'?" I blurted out.

Jon showed me Bloglines, and children began to dance upon flowery hills.

Suddenly it became so easy to follow sites I liked. I just clicked on a button, and then the newest update was conveniently sent home to me. How cool was that? So I added more sites. And more. And then a few more. The list became longer, so I made reading easier by grouping the sites into general categories. And continued to add more sites.

But now my list is almost reaching critical mass, and the reader looses it's purpose. It all takes way too long to read.

So what is wrong?

Well, take a look for yourself:

It's all a jumbled mess of loose categories, mixed English and Swedish, and some feeds are in the wrong folder. One folder is named "Miscellaneous" (but in Swedish), for crying out loud! It was okay when I was just juggling 20 or so feeds, but at 88 (and counting) it's quickly becoming a pain. It's just too hard to find the information I want to read at the time.

So I did some reorganizing. Introducing Linus feed list v2© - now featuring:

But did I learn anything? Why yes, yes I did:

Dead sites are useless! One type of blogs that got deleted were the ones that weren't ever updated.

Blogging is building relationships. Another kind of blogs I deleted were those that I didn't trust. Youthedesigner, for instance, got deleted since they didn't publish a comment by me where I added my (critical) opinion on a book they liked. Makes me wonder if they only publish positive comments? If so, why?

The sites has to have content that suits me. I also deleted feeds that just took time away from useful stuff. In the end I decided that my feed reader is a place to get information - not leisure. So I deleted the humour feeds (which weren't that funny anyway).

Planning is good. It took about an hour and a half to organize 88 (now 71) feeds. Having a system in place before you start adding too many feeds is beneficial. I don't even want to think what it would be like to organize 200+ feeds.

It's hard to figure out a system that works for you. I'll tweak this over the next few days for sure, but it's already miles better than the old mess. At least now I can add more feeds and get better information quicker.

Do you have any tips on becoming a power RSS-user? Let me know through the comments.