I like to keep up with developments in culture, technology and various hobbies while avoiding news per se. For several years, I used Google Reader to organize my collection of RSS feeds. When Google killed off Google Reader, like a lot of RSS fans I switched to using Feedly. I’ve been happy with Feedly. It works well and is easy to use. The problem I have is that I keep adding new feeds to my collection and in short order I find that I’m spending far too much time reading stuff in Feedly and not enough reading actual books or working on my writing. Not to mention paying bills, doing laundry, and so forth. I don’t want to get rid of all my RSS feeds but I keep telling myself that I really need to cut down on the volume.
From time to time, I realize there’s too much material waiting in my Feedly queue for me to read in a reasonable amount of time, so I declare RSS bankruptcy on at least a few of the more prolific blogs I follow. By this I mean I mark everything read in a given feed and tell myself I’ll just have to live without the material that I missed.
I thought I had a solution to the problem of having signed up for too many RSS feeds when I discovered Pocket, which used to be called Read it Later. Pocket is a browser plugin that allows you to save a link, story, or article for later reading – pretty much what it says on the tin, actually. The problem with Pocket, or with the way I use it, is that I tend to decrease one backlog of to-be-read items while growing another, similar backlog in another tool.
One additional problem is that some of the blogs I follow are commercial, and their writers seem to be paid on the basis of how many articles they post in a day, In addition, there are some vaguely incestual relationships going on between some blogs, in that they all link back to each other, so I’ll see the same content over and over again from different blogs. Say if Google releases some new product, I may see six or more stories about it and four of them will really be the exact same article, linked back to the original.
Then I get into the issue of the fact that cleaning up my RSS feed collection does, of course, take not insignificant time, and I then wonder if I’m better served by having the occasional RSS bankruptcy event rather than spending a ton of time analyzing which blogs overlap, which ones I really enjoy, and which ones are truly useful for my purposes.
How do you deal with the volume of stuff available for perusal on the Internet? Isn’t it like trying to take a sip of water from a firehose sometimes? Please leave a comment!