Keeping track of 1,000 RSS feeds



October 27th, 2006

How do you manage to keep track of over 900 RSS feeds?  Why do you have so many feeds?  Do you read all of them?  What catches your eye?  How do you feel about partial feeds?  How do you cope?  Do you subscribe to new feeds?  It must drive you nuts!

I'm pretty sure that despite my recent cull of [tag]RSS feed[/tag] that I'm either over or hovering close to having 1,000 feeds in my [tag]RSS[/tag] readers.  I don't know how many feeds other people have but it seems like this might be a few more than what most people have.  I guess I hadn't thought that there was anything odd about it (I have thousands of links stored in my favorites and also in folders on my desktop too - that's probably deviant behavior too ...).

Above I've listed a few question that some people seem interested in having answered in relation to my feeds.  Here I'm going to try to answer them as best as I can.

Why do you have so many feeds?

Simple.  I have a lot of interests.  PCs, outdoors, photography, science, electronics, books ...  Add to that a huge number of work/writing related feeds and the numbers soon mount up.  I also have a myriad of specific news feeds from a number of networks (for example, I must have ten different Reuters feeds, six or so from the BBC, and I think I have all the ZDNet bloggers in my list).  This bulks up my feed count significantly.

The way I look at it is that subscribing to an RSS feed doesn't cost me anything and if I get one good idea a month from a feed that I'm subscribed to, then that's a gift that someone else has given me for nothing.  I try to repay that debt by linking to sites that I find interesting and useful and by generating content that I hope others find interesting, useful or thought-provoking.

I think that it also helps that I like to read - I'll read a book or two a week as well.

How do you manage to keep track of over 900 RSS feeds?

I have three systems.

  • [tag]Desktop Sidebar[/tag]
  • [tag]FeedDemon[/tag]
  • My brain

My main tool when it comes to controlling my RSS feeds is Desktop Sidebar.  This is an application that sits on my Windows desktop (on the right-hand side of the right hand monitor - I have a dual-monitor setup).  Most of my feeds are loaded into Desktop Sidebar and they continuously flow into this program and are displayed on the screen (along with my email).  When I see something that interests me, I hover over it and I can see the contents or excerpt of the article.  If something catches my eye I either open it up on a browser window or remember to get to it later (more on that in a minute).

The second tool is FeedDemon.  I like FeedDemon because it makes it easy for me to flag articles that I want to keep or refer to later.  I don't use FeedDemon as my main RSS reader because it's not as convenient as Desktop Sidebar, but it does store a history of all the feed entries, not just the latest ones which is handy of I want to go back to something.

Finally, my brain.  I have what some people call a photographic memory (or eidetic memory) and I can speed read (most people think all this sounds cool but there's plenty in life that I can't do ...).  It's far from being perfect and I don't remember everything I see, but I do remember a lot of what I see.  This helps a lot when it comes to dealing with feeds.  I can see something pop up in Desktop Sidebar and I can remember where I saw it and go back to it later (FeedDemon is then useful for finding the specific entry and the link).

My dream RSS reader would be one that combined Desktop Sidebar and FeedDemon and which also allowed me to create scrapbooks of feeds by dragging content into a page (saving the URL would be useful) and allowing me to highlight bits of text.  If anyone knows of anything like that, drop me a note!

Do you read all of them?

No.  I scan the titles and pick out things that sound interesting.  I have no idea how many [tag]blog[/tag] posts I actually read in a day (I'll try to keep a count going ...).

What catches your eye?

A good title!

How do you feel about partial feeds?

Full feeds make it easier to scan read posts, but if someone's written something that I find useful then the least that I can do is visit their website.

How do you cope?

Fine.  I'm sure that I could handle 2,000 if I had to!

I culled feeds out of my RSS readers not because the numbers were a strain but because I was tired of the junk posts.  The blogging landscape has changed a lot in the last year and there are a lot of really good, fresh [tag]blogs[/tag] out there.  It was time for a clear out.

Do you subscribe to new feeds?

Yes.  Like I said it costs me nothing to subscribe. 

It must drive you nuts!

I think I was nuts before I started [tag]blogging[/tag] and subscribing to RSS feeds!

This entry was posted on Friday, October 27th, 2006 at 13:31 and is filed under PC Doctor Tips, PC Doctor's Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Keeping track of 1,000 RSS feeds”

  1. links for 2006-11-04 « My Weblog Says:

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