Recently, I found myself drowning in an ocean of RSS feeds. Even after switching to Google Reader, which definitely speeds up the process of plowing through posts, I was wasting too much time consuming subscribed content. Thus, in an effort to find balance between saving time and staying current, I executed the following five-step feed portfolio makeover:
- Drop lame feeds. Previously, I had subscribed to a number of feeds simply because they were recommended or mentioned in an article somewhere. Unfortunately, sound referrals and interesting commentary do not necessarily equate with strong syndicated content. I often found myself reading post after post about stuff that was not useful or even interesting. After some careful deliberation, I dropped around 25 of these lame feeds and moved on with my life.
- Consolidate similar feeds. After following my previous collection of feeds for awhile, I began to notice ridiculous amounts of redundancy. There is just no need to subscribe to multiple blogs covering the same material unless they blog from truly unique perspectives. After choosing one or two authority bloggers for each of my focus areas, I unsubscribed to the “echo” feeds and thus reduced my feed collection by at least 20.
- Eliminate overly aggressive feeds. I love to see fresh content from bloggers who post quality posts, especially when they only post once in awhile. It’s like getting a scooby snack or something and I just love it. Conversely, I hate to see overly ambitious bloggers bomb my reader with a jillion junk posts about the same old garbage — nothing new to say and no new ways of saying it. Needless to say, I kicked about 10 of these feed hogs straight to the curb.
- Subscribe to summary feeds. When it comes to staying current with world news, tech news, and other frequently reported topics, it is easy to flood your reader with unnecessary content. Fortunately, many of the most prolific news-related sites provide an alternate summary feed that consolidates and highlights the day’s or week’s worth of material into a single post. By trading full feeds for summary feeds, I greatly reduced the quantity of incoming feed content without sacrificing the quality of its information.
- Drop John Chow like a bad habit. Just kidding. Chow is great, but really, how many blogs about blogging and getting stinking rich do you really need? The point here is to craft yourself a diverse collection of enlightening, educational, and enriching feeds. Trade mindlessness and redundancy for thoughtfulness and original content. Drop the mind-numbing “list” sites and find sincere bloggers with experience and wisdom. I am continually fine-tuning my feed diet towards a diverse, eclectic, and original collection of insightful, high-quality content written by authoritative bloggers who aren’t pitching at me around every corner.
Before implementing these steps, my total number of feeds was around 111; the total time spent reading was around 2 hours per day; and the estimated signal-to-noise ratio was approximately 30%. Now, after my five-step feed makeover, I enjoy an elite, streamlined portfolio of 50 feeds that requires less than one hour per day to consume a healthy diet containing more than 75% target material. Clearly, a better way to stay current and an excellent return on investment ;)