How I Use Feed Subscriptions: Part 1

cafe91feedreading.JPGDan recently asked how many RSS (or atom) feeds I subscribe to, and how I manage them.

Let’s start with how many. Well, in my main subscription group, I have just shy of 400 feeds. I have two other subscription groups, but I’ll come back to them in another post. Those feeds generate up to 1,000 post per day.

Yes. yes, I know. I have a problem. I’m an addict. So we’ll gloss over that and move on to Dan’s second question: How do I manage them?

(The rest is behind a cut to spare those whose eyes are glazing over already.)

Well, my principal tool is NetNewsWire, an RSS reader app for the Mac, owned by Newsgator. And my timing’s good for writing about this, because it’s just been made free. Gratis. For nowt. (Newsgator has given some reasons for this)

Why do I use it? Three reasons:

  1. It’s a friendly, fast way of diving through feeds
  2. It synchronises between computers, so it’s up to date on my MacBook and my iMac at home. And, in theory on my PC at work, too, if I could get IT to let me install FeedDemon.
  3. It synchronises with the Newsgator online service, which I can access on my iPhone

Generally, I try to do my reading in two chunks: once first thing in the morning, and once after lunch. I used to go through the various topic-based folders one at a time, but recently I noticed some folders tended to get neglected badly. So, I weaned some feeds out of those, and now I read all the feeds combined the the general “Latest News” folder.

To see how I use NetNewsWire in more detail, click the pic below:

netnewswire in action

My single worst habit in my feed reading is spawning umpteen tabs with pages I want to comment on, post about or just peruse in more detail. So, to all the bloggers who have written fantastic posts that I’ve marked to deal with later – and then never come back to: sorry. You deserved better.

  • Adam – so then, what do you do in all of your copious free time?!
    Thanks for sharing. I use Google Reader, and an old fashioned Word document for organization of individual posts and topics.

  • You’re far more organised than me Adam. I’ve experimented with a lot of readers over the years. I currently use Vienna for work feeds and NetNewsWire for friends and more hobby like stuff. But, I’m not completely happy with my set up, I was starting to look at buying a feedreader, I didn’t realise NNW had gone free – that’s the full version I presume? Anyway, have downloaded and will look at it. Thanks for heads up.

    One thing I’ve noticed in recent months is how I think I rely far more upon my core network of vaguely work blog/social bookmark friends to feed me stuff from blogs I no longer subscribe to. Second, how much more useful keyword and tag feeds are over pure blog and newspaper rss feeds. I find I’m getting more targeted, relevant, niche information from these feeds than I am from general blogs.

    The only downfall is that there is a bit of repetition within the feeds with some articles syndicated/copied across various publishers. If I could filter out the copies, this would further my current feed reading.

  • Adam Tinworth

    I find tag feeds very useful for particular niches. But I’ll be writing more about that in Part 2 of this mini-series of posts….