43 Folders

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Too many RSS feeds? Put ’em on probation

rethink(ip) - Controlling RSS Overload...Animal House Style

Good idea for managing the RSS feeds you think you might be able to live without:

Most aggregators allow you to create "groups" for your blogs. I have groups for "blawgs," "bored," "technology," etc. (see a picture below). The most important group of all is called "Probation." Into the Probation group goes every new blog I add to my aggregator. EVERY one. Consider it a quarantine tank for your RSS aquarium. Once a month, go through your Probation group and cull the herd, promoting some to the big leagues, while giving others the boot.

At a more byzantine stage, I did something kind of similar to this--but in less-effective reverse.

I actually had a folder called "Sequester" where I'd throw any feed that was starting to get on my nerves (too many [kitty photos | jokey memes | posts about the salvation promised by Longhorn/Vista]). In NetNewsWire (and probably others) you can set a custom refresh time for a feed or its parent folder (cf.) to, in this instance, ensure you get a nice break from the bothersome content.

So, for example, you could say to check your "Sequester" folder just every 72 hours. When the updates pop up, you can decide whether your ardor has truly cooled enough to unsubscribe (at which point, if you're like me, you move the feed to "Deleted" with "Don't Refresh this Feed" selected).

Managing the glut of easy-to-subscribe RSS feeds is an issue I hear people asking about all the time. Do you have a good trick for culling your XML herd?

[thanks, Ian]

Ivan Tumanov's picture

Well the bottom line is...

Well the bottom line is that we all use groups to organize feeds. I tend to prioritize feeds into several groups.

1) Entertainment - this is the group I read least, only if I have free time after ready all the rest of my groups. 2) Photoblogs - this is obviously something that can be put off and I read these as a relaxation technique (I highly recommend bluejake.com and slower.net by the way - both feature some excellent photography). 3) News - I tend to do a fair amount of surfing in interstitial time, so often times i don't even need to read this group, just go through it and mark as read the sites I already read during the day anyways.

Everything else I keep at the top level so I can see when people post new things. Obviously 43F is right there at the very top, well actually Justin Frankel's blog (of Winamp fame - http://www.1014.org/blog/) and "...she's a flight risk..." (http://shes.aflightrisk.org/) are above 43 Folders because its ordered alphabetically.

In any case, I think I will definitely implement this "Probation" group, its a very good idea!




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