RSS Isn’t Dead, So Better Organize Your Feed Reader

In spite of both Twitter and Facebook popularity, I still suggest you pay attention to Real Simple Syndication (RSS).  As a publisher, don’t forget to have it readily available for your website visitors.  As an information consumer, use it to discover web information.

RSS is still great for the following reasons:

  • Publishes blog posts, website updates and news articles from around the Web.
  • Highly efficient information management tool for reading content compared with Twitter. RSS can provide the complete content with inline images, video, rather than a less informative and two-step, 140-character Tweet plus link.
  • Backward compatibility means RSS content can be shared via email, where much of the world still lives.
  • Many other data feeds work only with RSS.  For example, I just set up a survey and its online results feed only in RSS.

While  RSS is slow (compared with real-time updates), lacks great interaction capabilities, and is somewhat cumbersome to set up and use, it still plays a unique and important role.

readerTo use RSS effectively, an orderly “filing system” for Google Reader is a must.

I’ve heard and read other theories on best practices when using a feed reader.  Here’s what works for me.

  1. Organize the content logically.
  2. Find that which is most important to you.
  3. Get the maximum benefit from the time you spend in reader.
  4. Attain maximum comprehension from feed titles.

Choose one of two methods.

I’ve tried different ways, but having used a real feed reader for sever years now, here’s what works and doesn’t work for me.

1.  First, absolutely do set up folders.

2.  Organize folders in one of two ways.

  • By subject.  This is the best way if you have many categories of data you will be following.  When time is limited  you can just read categories that are most important and return to view others later.  Also, and perhaps most importantly, when you organize by subject, it helps your brain to more quickly scan and  assimilate content than when you’re mixing apples and oranges.
  • By priority.  Another credible way to organize your feed reader is by priority.  For example, you might just have three categories:  the must read, the should read when can, and the read only if you have spare time.  The advantage is that it’s simpler to set up, and quicker to get to only a few categories than many.  The disadvantage is that set up this way, you’ll have to go through an entire category to know that you’ve seen everything you might be looking for.  Thus it is quicker but perhaps not as effective.

I still find using an RSS reader an important tool in effectively consuming information from the Internet.  I plan to talk more about it again soon.

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