Google Reader and Declaring RSS Bankruptcy

36
Back to the Blog

RSS Feed

Over the past few months my RSS feed reader of choice, Google Reader, has officially gone into meltdown. Well not the application itself, but more so my ability to manage the 412 blog subscriptions that I have “acquired” over time.

This is not the first time this has happened either. It was only about 6 months ago that the number of sites I was subscribing to crept up to a whopping 564. Mental chaos ensued, I then slowly peeled that number back to the 412 it is was today.

Sometimes you can simply overdo it and subscribe to too many blogs. I am not sure how many feeds is enough for one person, but  if you fire up Google Reader and see All items 1000+ in the top left hand corner every morning, then maybe that is just Google’s way of telling you that you need to cut back a bit.

Information overload was taking hold of me, so drastic action needed to be taken. Today, I finally decided to bite the bullet and have declared RSS bankruptcy.

All of my RSS subscriptions have officially been terminated.

So to some of my favourite blogs – David Airey, Design Informer, The Design Cubicle, Smashing Magazine, Little Box of Ideas, ImJustCreativeProblogger, Mashable, and many more – sorry guys, as awesome as you are, you now have one less subscriber.

Liberate Yourself

The great thing about RSS bankruptcy is that is allows you to start over with a completely clean slate. Which to tell you the truth, feels very liberating.

I could possibly be the first blogger ever to suggest that readers rip into their feed reader and start unsubscribing from blogs. Increasing subscriber count is one of the primary objectives of most bloggers after all. But here is the thing, if a reader is unable to keep up with the sheer number of blogs they subscribe to, I know that it is fairly unlikely that they will ever get around to reading one of my posts anyway.

As much as bloggers value their subscriber count, a subscriber that never reads your posts may as well not be subscribing at all.

So as a reader of blogs, what is the best way to manage the feeds you subscribe to? To be honest, I am still not sure. There are a ton of advanced tips on how to use Google Reader effectively, but at the end of the day if you are subscribing to too many blogs it simply doesn’t work anymore.

I think the only way forward is to be more selective about the blogs I subscribe to. Also, as a subscriber if I start to feel as though a blog is not adding enough value on either a personal or professional level, then I will free myself and get rid of it.

If you have too many subscriptions, I suggest that you do the same.

What goes through you mind when deciding whether or not you will subscribe to a blog? Do you ever get overwhelmed by the number of your feeds and how do you deal with it?

P.S. To the blogs I mentioned above, you are now back in my subscription list 😉

Dangerous Blogger RSS Image Credit

  • http://bonfx.com Douglas Bonneville

    I have to pair mine down too, but I already ditched facebook and linkedin. It’s just too much. I did a purging of feeds not too long ago too. I’m using Google RSS reader. What I did in the last round was collect new feeds and put them in one folder for a subject. Then I had another folder for the same subject. I’d scan titles from feeds every so often and if there was enough good stuff in it, I’d move it to the read folder. For instance, I have a “typography” folder and a “typography blogs” for lack of a better term. I always read whats in the “typography blogs” folder but only check on “typography” once in a while. Same for design. I have about 10 blogs in the “design blogs” folder about 60 in the “design” folder. If you add up all the categories and blogs I *really* check every day, it’s about 30 total. Of that 30, I really really check about 5 every day. I think 5 is really I can hold in my brain with a clear sense of interest.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Great tips Douglas. There are so many tricks for using Google Reader that can really help manage the feeds.
      Thanks so much for sharing how you go about it.
      I think the real ‘secret’ is just not to subscribe to so many in the first place – that requires a bit of self control however. Something, which I can lack at times;)

  • http://bonfx.com Douglas Bonneville

    I have to pair mine down too, but I already ditched facebook and linkedin. It’s just too much. I did a purging of feeds not too long ago too. I’m using Google RSS reader. What I did in the last round was collect new feeds and put them in one folder for a subject. Then I had another folder for the same subject. I’d scan titles from feeds every so often and if there was enough good stuff in it, I’d move it to the read folder. For instance, I have a “typography” folder and a “typography blogs” for lack of a better term. I always read whats in the “typography blogs” folder but only check on “typography” once in a while. Same for design. I have about 10 blogs in the “design blogs” folder about 60 in the “design” folder. If you add up all the categories and blogs I *really* check every day, it’s about 30 total. Of that 30, I really really check about 5 every day. I think 5 is really I can hold in my brain with a clear sense of interest.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Great tips Douglas. There are so many tricks for using Google Reader that can really help manage the feeds.
      Thanks so much for sharing how you go about it.
      I think the real ‘secret’ is just not to subscribe to so many in the first place – that requires a bit of self control however. Something, which I can lack at times;)

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Google Reader and Declaring RSS Feed Bankruptcy | Logobird -- Topsy.com()

  • http://paulgalbraith.com Paul Galbraith

    I’ve been pretty selective about the RSS feeds I’ve added to Google Reader, so thankfully I’ve only got a couple of dozen. Much like Douglas, I have them separated into folders according to subject, which I tend to check daily using Reeder on the iPad. If I want to read the full article though, I much prefer to go the actual site and read it there, as I think a site’s design adds to the experience.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Good move Paul. I have heard awesome things about Reeder. How is the iPad going?
      I also prefer to visit the actual site where the article was written :)

  • http://paulgalbraith.com Paul Galbraith

    I’ve been pretty selective about the RSS feeds I’ve added to Google Reader, so thankfully I’ve only got a couple of dozen. Much like Douglas, I have them separated into folders according to subject, which I tend to check daily using Reeder on the iPad. If I want to read the full article though, I much prefer to go the actual site and read it there, as I think a site’s design adds to the experience.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Good move Paul. I have heard awesome things about Reeder. How is the iPad going?
      I also prefer to visit the actual site where the article was written :)

  • gerry suchy

    Duane,

    I think we’ve had this conversation before about how crazy social media and blogging have become. The reality is that most of us were doing just fine without it using the traditional, some would say antiquated forms of marketing. In terms of information sharing, there is nothing like it but it can can out of hand as you so astutely point out.I tend to subscribe to aggregator blogs that do the work for me that way I can really keep it to a minimum. As others have said, if it’s worth saving it goes into a folder for future use. As for Twitter, I’ve kept it to a following of 100 and that seems to work just fine. I just don’t know if I need to read about the latest 300 jQuery sliders from a dozen different posters;)

    Take Care
    Gerry

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Hey Gerry, yes indeed we have. The explosion of social media and blogging does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon – which is both a good and bad thing.
      Keeping those who you follow on Twitter down to a minimum is good advice!

  • gerry suchy

    Duane,

    I think we’ve had this conversation before about how crazy social media and blogging have become. The reality is that most of us were doing just fine without it using the traditional, some would say antiquated forms of marketing. In terms of information sharing, there is nothing like it but it can can out of hand as you so astutely point out.I tend to subscribe to aggregator blogs that do the work for me that way I can really keep it to a minimum. As others have said, if it’s worth saving it goes into a folder for future use. As for Twitter, I’ve kept it to a following of 100 and that seems to work just fine. I just don’t know if I need to read about the latest 300 jQuery sliders from a dozen different posters;)

    Take Care
    Gerry

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Hey Gerry, yes indeed we have. The explosion of social media and blogging does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon – which is both a good and bad thing.
      Keeping those who you follow on Twitter down to a minimum is good advice!

  • http://andycrofford.com Andy

    I use Google Reader but seem to prefer just following the blog on Twitter and finding out about new posts when the blog author tweets it. This is a method I have been trying out the last month or so and I haven’t read any RSS feeds since.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Hi Andy, I have tried this before but it didn’t work for me. The problem was that if I missed a tweet (if you were away for a couple of days for example) then I would basically miss a post completely. I don’t know if there is any way to create a ‘catch’ of some sorts in Twitter – but would love to know if there was!

  • http://andycrofford.com Andy

    I use Google Reader but seem to prefer just following the blog on Twitter and finding out about new posts when the blog author tweets it. This is a method I have been trying out the last month or so and I haven’t read any RSS feeds since.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Hi Andy, I have tried this before but it didn’t work for me. The problem was that if I missed a tweet (if you were away for a couple of days for example) then I would basically miss a post completely. I don’t know if there is any way to create a ‘catch’ of some sorts in Twitter – but would love to know if there was!

  • http://bonfx.com Douglas Bonneville

    @ Andy:

    How do you know for sure you got all the latest articles from someone you follow? I use tweetdeck and while it’s great to see the last day or two of activity, it’s hard work to know for sure you haven’t missed anything since the format scrolls things away. What twitter app (if any) do you use?

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Good question. Just what I wanted to know.

  • http://bonfx.com Douglas Bonneville

    @ Andy:

    How do you know for sure you got all the latest articles from someone you follow? I use tweetdeck and while it’s great to see the last day or two of activity, it’s hard work to know for sure you haven’t missed anything since the format scrolls things away. What twitter app (if any) do you use?

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Good question. Just what I wanted to know.

  • http://jaemi.info Jaemi

    I’ve had the same thing with my Google Reader for a long time. I paired it down for awhile…mainly when I left libraries as a FT job…but now I’ve picked up a slew of design/dev related blogs and am right back where I started. I have some shared methods with everyone above.

    I go through every now and then and delete. If I never read it, it doesn’t need to stay. I have favorites. I even have a folder called Favorites, but some of them are just blogs in other categories I make sure to check more often. I also follow a lot of blogs/webbies (as I call web designers and developers) on Twitter. On the one hand, it is a lot of information, but on the other, my client makes it super easy to scan. Between the two, I rarely miss anything. And I can delete more feed items as I scan through because I know I’ve already seen it. Sounds like more work, but feels like less.

    I use Seesmic Windows or Seesmic Web. I’m not sure about the offline version, but the Web Version does let you scroll down to get to older tweets; it does seem to be indefinite. I tested it on a busy list, and got tired after dragging it back to 10 hours ago. And said lists + Seesmic are how I manage my busy twitter. The lists of people I want to stay on top of are always loaded in Seesmic, along with Home, which helps me stay on top of everyone. If I one day want to know what’s up in Eco Land, I’ll pop in to check that list.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Hi Jaemi, Thanks for you Google Reader and Twitter tips. I might give Seesmic a look sometime. I have been using Tweetdeck for the past 6 months, perhaps it is time to try something different.

  • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

    Hey Duane,

    I believe that RSS will lose its appeal more and more. I have subscribed like to a hundred blogs but I never check my inbox – it’s too cluttered.
    It’s really cool for one’s ego to have a high number of readers ( I know from experience;) but how good is your reach ? And with feedburner screwing up deluxe nowadays, I rather visit the blogs myself.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Hi Mars, I don’t think RSS will lose its appeal until something “better” replaces it.
      I do agree however, that you can’t rely on Feedburner’s metrics. It is nothing more than a rough estimate at best.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

    Hey Duane,

    I believe that RSS will lose its appeal more and more. I have subscribed like to a hundred blogs but I never check my inbox – it’s too cluttered.
    It’s really cool for one’s ego to have a high number of readers ( I know from experience;) but how good is your reach ? And with feedburner screwing up deluxe nowadays, I rather visit the blogs myself.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Hi Mars, I don’t think RSS will lose its appeal until something “better” replaces it.
      I do agree however, that you can’t rely on Feedburner’s metrics. It is nothing more than a rough estimate at best.
      Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://jaemi.info Jaemi

    Yeah, I gave TweetDeck a whirl. I worked at Yahoo for a bit, and new they used it for recruiting. But I am 1, not a real fan of AIR apps. They are way too resource intensive. And 2, I just didn’t really take to it. So I also tried Sobees, and ruled that out. And then I tried Seesmic Windows. And I love that, though more so on a bigger screen (lets me see more). I mostly use the web version now as there are smaller columns, and because it’s just easy. I’ve only been on it for a week or two and it’s already been a life-changing experience. You can try it without hassle by signing in with your twitter account. You should give it a shot some afternoon. No saying you have to go back.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Life changing? That is a big call. That’s it, you have inspired me to give it a go. Cheers Jaemi!

  • http://jaemi.info Jaemi

    Yeah, I gave TweetDeck a whirl. I worked at Yahoo for a bit, and new they used it for recruiting. But I am 1, not a real fan of AIR apps. They are way too resource intensive. And 2, I just didn’t really take to it. So I also tried Sobees, and ruled that out. And then I tried Seesmic Windows. And I love that, though more so on a bigger screen (lets me see more). I mostly use the web version now as there are smaller columns, and because it’s just easy. I’ve only been on it for a week or two and it’s already been a life-changing experience. You can try it without hassle by signing in with your twitter account. You should give it a shot some afternoon. No saying you have to go back.

    • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

      Life changing? That is a big call. That’s it, you have inspired me to give it a go. Cheers Jaemi!

  • http://jaemi.info Jaemi

    Excellent! You’ll have to let me know what you think.

  • http://jaemi.info Jaemi

    Excellent! You’ll have to let me know what you think.

  • Pingback: Vem orkar med bloggar år 2010? « BiblioBuster()

  • http://jaemi.info Jaemi

    I’ve had the same thing with my Google Reader for a long time. I paired it down for awhile…mainly when I left libraries as a FT job…but now I’ve picked up a slew of design/dev related blogs and am right back where I started. I have some shared methods with everyone above.

    I go through every now and then and delete. If I never read it, it doesn’t need to stay. I have favorites. I even have a folder called Favorites, but some of them are just blogs in other categories I make sure to check more often. I also follow a lot of blogs/webbies (as I call web designers and developers) on Twitter. On the one hand, it is a lot of information, but on the other, my client makes it super easy to scan. Between the two, I rarely miss anything. And I can delete more feed items as I scan through because I know I’ve already seen it. Sounds like more work, but feels like less.

    I use Seesmic Windows or Seesmic Web. I’m not sure about the offline version, but the Web Version does let you scroll down to get to older tweets; it does seem to be indefinite. I tested it on a busy list, and got tired after dragging it back to 10 hours ago. And said lists + Seesmic are how I manage my busy twitter. The lists of people I want to stay on top of are always loaded in Seesmic, along with Home, which helps me stay on top of everyone. If I one day want to know what’s up in Eco Land, I’ll pop in to check that list.

  • http://www.logobird.com.au Duane Kinsey

    Hi Jaemi, Thanks for you Google Reader and Twitter tips. I might give Seesmic a look sometime. I have been using Tweetdeck for the past 6 months, perhaps it is time to try something different.

Back to the Blog