The Complexity of Managing 212 RSS Feeds: A Blogger's Challenge


 Posted in 2007
 Catagories: 💻 Computers

Navigating the Maze of Information: Tools, Workflows, and Overload

I am at a dangerous point in blogging.  I have 212 different RSS feeds / blogs that I read.  I know others manage a whole lot more but I’m not as good as they are.  At one point back in 2000 or so I had only one feed that I subscribed to via the My Netscape Portal.  It was the news feed from the site I use to run, at (they no longer syndicate their news sadly).  Over the last 7 years or so, the number of feeds I read has increased.   It is now at the point where it takes an hour to read everything each day.  I am now starting to run into a barrier of having too many feeds and I need to change something.  I am running into several problems. 

The first is that I am still looking for a taxonomy to manage all my feeds.  As I scale up to this level, I am starting to run into the problem that I can’t exactly map everything into nice inboxes.  The second problem that I’m now facing is that not everything that I save maps into nice outboxes either.  The best tool to manage this so far has been FeedDemon.  Their folder structure for feeds, watches and news bins makes sense, but I am at the breaking point as the GTDesque “workflow” that I have setup is needing to be reworked.  The only way I can see reworking it is to make sub categories under each of my meta categories.  To be honest, I think that FeedDemon will work just fine doing these things, but my overall workflow will need to change.

The second problem is that I am starting to run into the problem of never being able to be caught up on my reading.  I have now gotten into the habit of scanning articles, but I have found that this misses items.  There have been two solutions to this.  I have started to subscribe to linkblogs.  I wish more people would establish linkblogs and publish them.  These linkblogs are great as they allow me to see if there is anything “important” that I missed on my trip through the other blogs.  The other way I am managing this overload is that FeedDemon supports watches which is an automated way to collect information.  I think that over the coming months I will be expanding these watches to be more detailed and specific.  As this happens, I will need to subscribe to more generic feeds to feed these specific watches.  This of course is a force feedback loop that will increase complexity.

My final problem is that I have tried many of the applications out there for reading feeds and I’m starting to approach the breaking point of these applications.  I will keep posting over the coming months regarding how I am managing this, but I suspect that I will find a couple opportunities for improvement on the RSS reader side.