Which turns into a major headache, really fast, unless you have some techniques for managing the information overload.
As it turns out, I do have a some great techniques for handling RSS…
Why use RSS?
Reasons to follow RSS feeds include:
- Keep up with friends and family
- Learn new information to turn into actionable knowledge.
All well and good, and not a problem when you have a few feeds that don’t update very often.
Once you find those several people per topic area, you have probably found the number of your RSS feeds blowing up into the hundreds.
So how to manage this mess of RSS?
I use several techniques.
Entertainment: I keep a few of these around. For example, my latest is the new BrokeAss Gourmet, which provides useful cooking information, but really, it’s just funny.
Friends and family: I keep them all! There aren’t that many anyway, and the amount of material is not that large, and it doesn’t require immediate action to be useful.
Actionable knowledge: There’s two aspects: broad information, and deep information, and I handle them differently.
Broad information comes from feeds that are tangential, but important. For example, emerging markets and applications. I follow the Google Earth blog, despite not having GE installed! I also follow the Io language feed (updated 6-8 times per year), because I am almost certain I am going end up programming in Io at some point. Typically, I read the headlines, then straight to archive. Also, I limit these to low traffic feeds.
Deep information useless without implementation
Deep information is where the real trouble begins. Everything coming from a feed with “deep” information is stuff I should implement as soon as possible.
But there is so much! It’s overwhelming! It’s not a firehouse… it’s a great, foaming Indonesian tsunami of information! As a result, I’ve developed some special techniques for handling important information coming on RSS feeds that are relevant to my work. It’s cool, because I honed my RSS feed down a very manageable level and I am able to quickly extract relevant information for immediate implementation.