Effective Blog Reading - Organising my RSS Feeds

I read this post from Mitch which referred to a post from Darren (another one <g>) about how he is now using Google Reader to read his RSS feeds. I love the idea of reading feeds online, it's great to be able to move from work to home to a client site and get a consistent view of all your feeds. I did try Google Reader briefly, but quickly went back to Bloglines (www.bloglines.com). I found that while Google Reader had a really slick, ajax style interface, the thing that ruined it for me was they way Google Reader just displayed all the posts from all your feeds in one big list.

What I really like about Bloglines is the fact that it allows you to organise your feeds into folders. I used to organise my feeds into categories, I had one for “BI”, one for “ASP.NET”, one for “Sharepoint” and so on. But I found this just was not matching the way I was reading them. I now have quite a few feeds that I subscribe to and found that I used to flick down the categories each day and check if any of my “favorites” had posted anything new. Then, when I had more time, I would come back and read through some of the other feeds. It was about the same time that I recognised this pattern of reading in myself that I came across these two posts advocating actually organising your feeds into categories that relate to the “priority” in which you read them.

I have organised my feeds in this way for the last few months and it has been working really well. I have a set of priority 1 feeds that I read each day, some Priority 2 feeds that I read every day or two and then some priority 3 feeds that I catch up on when I get a chance. I also add new feeds to a “x New” folder (which sorts second last) into which new feeds that I find get added. If these new feeds prove to be any good I move them up to one of the other categories. As feeds become more or less relevant I move them to different categories. Finally I have a “z Probation” category into which feeds go once I no longer find myself reading them.

I have found that this works for me. The only slight variation I have added recently is to start prefixing the name of the feeds with the old categories. So in my “Priority 1” category I have a list of “BI -“ feeds. This come close to giving me the best of both worlds, having both a priority and category list. Coming from the OLAP world what I would really like is the ability to pivot category and priority independently, but I am yet to see a thick client RSS reader that is capable of that, let alone a web based interface.

Print | posted on Sunday, May 7, 2006 9:04 PM