July 21, 2008

Trimming the Fat On RSS Feeds - You Could Lose 99%!

Guest Post from (jeff)isageek (FriendFeed / Twitter)

Recently J. Phil of Scribkin and Corvida of SheGeeks decided to see if they could trim some of the fat off their RSS subscriptions to help control getting overwhelmed from it all. I thought this was a pretty cool idea and decided to take the plunge and purge everything! So with the click of some buttons I was at ZERO.

So now I had nothing coming in, and it was kind of a weird feeling, after having tons and tons of feeds shooting into Google Reader by the hour, feeding my RSS addiction. I was back to day one and back to where I was a few years ago... what do I do now? I had this feeling that I am missing stuff already!!! I needed to get the flow going again, but with a little cleaner look.

Here is my RSS reduction plan that I thought I would share with everyone so that you too can start new and maybe tweak the idea a little bit (or a lot even).

Shared Items From Friends - This was a given since I was using Google Reader anyways and I get such great content from the likes of Corvida, J. Phil, Billy Fairchild, Louis Gray, Drew Olanoff, Sarah Perez, etc. My friends help me in discovering new stories, services, and content, so they were a must.

Shared Items - This would be content from RSSmeme and ReadBurner. These of course would have Shared Items from my friends, but would also have top items my friends may have missed. With the great friends I have, they seem to pick up all the good stuff... but with the two services combined, they offer another great option to grab from.

So that pretty much it when it for me when it comes to Google Reader now... just wanting to grab Shared Items... crazy, huh? Before this, I had tons of feeds from services to personal blogs but now I was down to just stuff that was shared, which contains most of the stuff I was getting from the various RSS feeds, only now, reduced.

This is the new tool in my quest to find all the great posts and content out there on the interweb. FriendFeed is just plain awesome! It is a great way to aggregate all the information out there from Flickr pics my contacts are posting, blog posts they are talking about via Disqus, blog posts from their personal sites, YouTube videos, shared items, the list goes on and on.

The great thing about FriendFeed it is so easy with Greasemonkey scripts for FireFox to customize your experience allowing you to get the most when visiting and finding great content. I have scripts setup to clean up the interface, allow me to jump from Google Reader or ReadBurner right in the FriendFeed page, options to read things later, clean up the interface, filter by service, improve the profiles, and the list goes on and on.

A few new features recently added include rooms which allow you to break subjects down even more and contain them all togather to follow as well as embedded audio which can help you keep track and stay upto date with your podcasts you like.

Since using FriendFeed, I am discovering a lot of great stuff from people I would have never known about if it were not from the service and like I said the clean interface, scripting options, and options right in FriendFeed have helped make it happen.


The last piece of the puzzle is one everyone is familiar with, and that is Twitter. With the service I can get breaking news, alerts that someone I am following has a new blog post I can check out, get feedback on a service in real time, the list goes on and on.

These days, of course, it seems we hear more about Twitter being down and the issues that the service is faced with but when it is doing what it does best it can be a major player in helping us all take control of information overload.

So there you have it I took all my feeds and blasted them and brought back:
  • Shared Items (from friends and from services like rssmeme and readburner)
  • FriendFeed Aggregation of my friends (with help from scripts, rooms, and settings)
  • Twitter (getting real time updates, advice, and information)
So what do you think? How are you working to control your RSS/information overload? Feel free to leave a comment or contact me at jeffisageek@gmail.com.