Going on an RSS Feed Diet

I started using Bloglines at the end of 2004 to keep up with the blogs that were emerging to cover the industries in which I'm interested. Back then I raved about how productive it made me (see Bloglines is Changing My Life). Unfortunately I kept subscribing to feeds and rarely pruned my subscriptions.

By January 1 of this year, the number of feeds on my list was between 200 and 300. I kept a number of my feed categories collapsed because I couldn't see the feeds that I wanted to monitor on a daily basis. As a result, some marginal blogs that happened to be in categories with the blogs that are important to me got read, while better blogs in other categories were ignored.

Something had to change.

On Thursday I had an hour to spare, so I started pruning. Before I knew it, I was down to 62 feeds, less than 25 percent of my previous record. I pulled the top 10 feeds out of their categories and now they sit right below the Operation Gadget feed. This means I can quickly scan the most important feeds to make sure I don't miss anything truly important, and I can leave the other 50 for when I reach a period of browsing time that I've built into my schedule.

This morning, I found a good article by Jeremy Zawodny called Aggregated Diminishing Returns and a Feed Diet on this subject. Zawodny says:

For the next two weeks I'm allocating 30 minutes per day to this {feed} reading, trolling, and mining effort. There's no pre-set limit on how much time I'll spend writing. The returns associated with writing appear to be quite different....

Someday someone will pull all this ranking, customization, personalization, recommendation, and other magic technology together and give me a great reason to throw out my RSS Aggregator once at for all. Until then, I'm going on a Feed Diet.

I need to be on an RSS feed diet more than I need to watch what I eat these days.