RSS Feed Changes

As I expected before I started, this RSS Feed analysis has only been the tip of the iceberg in terms of my own workflow and processes.

It has prompted me to go on a pretty intense webDiet with respect to all the various sites, services and social networking groups that I have got myself involved with. I am currently reviewing my use of browsers, bookmarks, del.icio.us etc. I will share these thoughts and changes with you as they evolve, but for now I have just concentrated on my RSS issue.

I am a huge RSS fan but I think that it has sort of taken over and replaced things that didn’t really need replacing. I found myself focussing on the following questions:

1. What is the best use of RSS?

I have debated this before and no doubt will debate it again. I am more and more convinced that the best use is for items that you don’t know exist. For example, in reality I know that the BBC Sports site will have a lot of Sports information, a reasonable amount of which I will be interested in. Do I really need a feed for that? Before RSS I used to enjoy browsing through various sites (as a substitute for a newspaper) and reading articles. Now I just tend to glance at the headline, skim the summary and then ‘assume’ I know what they are saying. On the other hand I have no idea when, for example, Matt will be posting something new so I don’t really want to be visiting his site regularly just to see – RSS is brilliant at doing this for me.

2. How much duplication do I have and why?

Twitter! I receive updates in the RSS reader, through Twitterrific and through the web. Surely I don’t need all of these?

Comments to my blog. I receive an email notification as well as an RSS. Whilst important that I receive and respond to these surely I don’t need two notifications? So one method it is – but which one? On the basis that comments requiring moderation are notified as emails it makes sense to stay with email notification. A pretty easy and logical decision to be fair.

3. How intrusive is RSS?

Personally I find it very intrusive. I find it almost impossible to resist checking to see what the latest updates are as soon as the number increases in the dock. This is great when it relates to a comment on the blog or Flickr that I want to respond to straight away, but it can be frustratingly distracting when it is just general stuff on say DIGG that ends up distracting me from what I am doing. Of course I should have the willpower to resist – but the same could be said about the cigarettes when drunk, the 4th cup of coffee and white chocolate oreo, etc i.e. willpower would be great, but the reality is I need an alternative solution.

4. What do I need to know instantly, what can wait until I am ready to go and find it?

I think this is a really important question. Just because you can receive information immediately to your screen doesn’t mean that your need to or have to. This is something that I have lost track on – I am not prioritizing well enough. I want to know when people have commented on my blog or pictures so that I can respond quickly, but information that I only need for projects I am working on I only need at the time that I am working on the project.

Other things that I took into consideration when unsubscribing:

– how regularly where the feeds updated, specifically the various blogs. If less than once a month then they have been deleted, Why? Well if it isn’t that important to the owner of the blog to post more frequently then I don’t see that I should be waiting for the odd time you can be bothered to write,
– do I just read the info in the RSS reader, or do I visit the site and follow the links. If the former then adios,
– the “all or nothing” rule, introduced specifically for Vox. Not everyone in my neighbourhood uses the subscribe option so I don’t actually get the total picture in my reader. I still need to visit the blog and check my neighbourhood BUT the RSS means I don’t, so I tend to keep up to date with those that use RSS and have become lazy about looking at the other sites. So adios all Vox RSS – I am going to make more effort to read the blogs in my browser, and
– should I be participating more, specifically DIGG. By only really looking at the DIGG feeds rather than the site I am not giving myself the chance to read the other sections, nor am I participating as much as I would like. So goodbye DIGG feeds, but need to work out how I incorporate reading and participating more into my webDiet and revised workflow.

So how did it all turn out? Well when I started the analysis I had the following Folder structure and feeds:

Mac
– Apple Insider
– digg/Apple
– MacRumours
– MacWorld
– MacWorld UK
– Version Tracker

Mac Blogs
– a number of individuals blogs relating to “Mac Stuff”. I had 10 in total

Technical
– digg/technology
– Engadget
– Geekbrief TV
– Gizmodo
– Lifehacker
– The Register
– Trend Watching

News & Sport
– BBC News
– BBC Sport
– New York Times
– Sky News
– Telegraph News
– Telegraph Sport

People
– various non Mac specific blogs from friends. 20 in total
– twitter

Work Projects
– activeCollab
– 8 blogs that I either run or an involved with
– digg/health
– Telegraph Health

Vox
– feeds from my ‘neighbours’ on Vox. 10 in total

My Stuff
– feeds for MyAppleStuff, Flickr etc

Photography
– feeds from other Flickr accounts, photography sites etc. 20 in total.
– Digital Photography School

These accounted for 1974 items in a 24 hour period. Post the tidy up I now have the following structure:

Daily
– AppleInsider
– Engadget
– Gizmodo
– Lifehacker
– Macworld
– Macworld UK
– MacRumors
– Telegraph News
– Telegraph Sport
– The Register
– Version Tracker

Weekly
– Digital Photography School
– Telegraph Health
– Trendwatching

MyAppleStuff
– comments
– DIGG News Search
– posts

Mac Blogs
– rationalised to 3

Moderating Blogs (i.e. stuff that I am moderating either of my own or under contract)
– 8 feeds in total

Personal Blogs
– 3 feeds in total

Pictures
– 10 comment and new photo feeds

And the result – in a similar 24 hour period they produced 316 items.

I have to sort out a workflow and process that allows me to spend more time participating in DIGG and more time reading the news sites and my Vox neighbourhood, and as soon as I have I will let you know.

As always I would love to hear about your RSS feeds, comments on the above, and any areas that you would amend.

4 thoughts on “RSS Feed Changes

  1. Wayne LeFevre

    Sounds like something even I need to do. I know exactly what you mean. To be interrupting what your doing in order to take an hour to look at all the new stuff on NetNewsWire. An hour later, it starts all over again. I am finding I’m reading more about stuff than actually doing stuff!

    Thanks for the push.

  2. Glenn Wolsey

    I finished the 24 ours with around 400 new items, not too bad since I recently cut down my list to the essentials after sorting through and seeing what I really need.

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