RSS feed overload is apparently a real problem for many people already and a variety of ways to deal with it are emerging through feed readers’ every day practices. Short of thought or time intensive and awkward hacks (or Steve Ruebel’s “nuclear option” of deleting all his feeds entirely if he misses a day of feed reading), what sorts of things should feed reading people be asking for Feed Reader vendors to consider including in future iterations of their software?
Danny Ayers points out today that in a world of ubiquitous computing, we are liable to drown in RSS feeds for RFID sensors, GPS tracking devices and goodness knows what else. I know I see things every day that I’d like to slap a tiny sensor on and track by feeds! This is liable to be an increasingly serious problem, though, and feed overload could for all intents and purposes break the medium of RSS altogether.
My favorite suggestions so far on how to deal:
Nicole Simon of Bloxpert, in a hard-hitting interview with Bloglines’ Mark Fletcher last month, asked why feeds couldn’t be subscribed to on a perishable basis.%uFFFD After a short period of time subscribers would be asked if they wish to remain subscribed to the feed – otherwise it would be deleted. I love that idea.
Ben Casnocha writes from the “get over it” camp of dealing with overload – subscribe freely to lots of feeds, skim quickly and find an acceptable signal-to-noise ratio.
I’ve found that hierarchies of priority are useful. I put my feeds in folders by theme, put the ones that have infrequent and important updates (like search for inbound links to my site) in their own folders and then use Peter Brown’s immedi.at to subscribe to IM notifications of updates to the super-important and time sensitive feeds.
I can only imagine, given the ingenuity of Nicole Simon’s feature request, that there must be other great ideas lurking out there in readers’ brains. I found the major feed reader vendors to be pretty responsive to customer feedback. Anyone care to share?