If you’re like me, you often rush through your RSS feeds skimming for the best stuff. Recently, I’ve found that more and more, I’m simply marking everything ‘read’ and moving on. Realizing this probably isnt the best use of my time, I’ve decided today to cut many things.

What I’ve found to be the least useful are tech updates – I usually see many of these via Twitter. Therefore, there’s really no reason for me to maintain them in my feed. Also, I tend to gloss over items from Mashable due to following them on Twitter.

Google Reader has a ‘Trends’ report section that allows you to see not only how often posts come through, but how often you read them. Looking through my report, I deleted anything that I read 5% of the time or less. That cut 4-5 blogs right there! Of course there are the obligatory feeds that I have to maintain from university accounts, but just being able to sort through them this way and cut them knowing what I tend to not read was phenomenally helpful.

I also created new folders – this way, I dont miss out on content I actually want to read. I tend to get caught up in wanting my reader at ‘zero’, so often things I’d like to read get tossed. Yes,  I could recall them if needed, but really, once they’re marked ‘read’ I rarely go back to hunt through them.

After a cleanup, I’m at 59 subscriptions, which is manageable. To share, my reader folders are as follows:

  • Analytics
  • Career
  • Content Marketing
  • Fun
  • Higher Ed Marketing
  • SEO
  • Suffolk
  • Tech & New Media
  • Web Design/Development

Do you use folders and trends? How many blogs do you subscribe to? How often do you purge without reading or otherwise handle getting through them all?

3 Comments

  1. I don’t use trends, but I’m such a Gogle Reader fiend that I probably should.

    I try not to mark all as read if I can avoid it — or I might mark categories like Humor, Politics and Webcomics as read. But never my professional categories. It’s reeeeeeally tempting to mark my People I Follow category as read, but I try to prowl through that too — though I definitely skim more there than elsewhere.

    Relatedly… I was actually just thinking about how I use Google Reader to share blog posts, and I probably do that more actively than I retweet blog posts that I like. When I see friends and colleagues tweet their blog posts, I usually ignore them if I have the feed in my Google Reader because I know I’ll read it later at my leisure, but then when I eventually read it, like it and want to share it, I’m in the Reader context, not Twitter. I might really like the post when I share it on Reader, but since they’re not getting a Twitter @ reply, do they know? I wish blog authors had a way of getting feedback on how their content is read/shared/starred/liked via Google Reader. Perhaps I should pimp my Reader sharing more, a la @chrisbrogan.

    BTW I like the blog redesign!

    PS, for the record: “From your 264 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 11,511 items, starred 0 items, shared 90 items, and emailed 22 items.”

  2. Like you, I suffer from RSS overload, but unlike you, I haven’t learned to yet manage it very well. I also haven’t used trends much.

    These days, I view my RSS stream much like my Twitter stream – as a place to visit for an occasional, invigorating “swim” in the sea of information. I just pluck up what interests me at the time, and I just leave the rest of the stuff unread.

    I do have a folder marked “deathrow” where I’ve moved some of the feeds I rarely if ever read. But there’s the chance that they could get a pardon from the governor. ;) This is an idea I got a few years ago from reading Lifehacker (<a href="http://lifehackerbook.com/1sted/ch2/#15"hack No. 15).

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