Google Reader? Feh!: How I use Twitter as RSS purgatory.

I am a RSS addict.  There’s too much great content out there, and I feel like I need to devour all of it.  It’s a sickness, I know.

Because of my addiction (there are about 200-250 sites with RSS feeds that I have enough of an interest in to want to keep up with, at this point), I’m frequently overwhelmed with the numbers sitting next to each feed in my Thunderbird install (ApartmentTherapy, for example, has 19,000 posts that i have not yet gone through).

Relatively recently, I’ve been able to dig myself out from the pile enough to mentally put the feeds I subscribe to into three distinct categories:

  1. Feeds where I find value in a large enough % of the posts to want to keep top-of-mind
  2. Feeds I thought I’d like, but never end up reading.
  3. Feeds with not infrequent gem posts, but either a really high volume or not consistent relevance to make me check the feed regularly

The first two are dealt with easily enough, and weeding your overall list of subscriptions is a mentally freeing experience, that allows you to concentrate the awesome in your daily content ingestion routine.  That pesky second one is a problem though.  I feel bad unsubscribing because chances are there are some really great thought-provoking posts that get written, but having to filter through content that isn’t as relevant to me leads to huge bulidups and makes it seem like a chore.

If only there was some kind of service or website where I could get notifications of content that gets posted to these sites, without the ‘unread items’ piling up, so I can click through to the ones I’d be interested in…

Oh wait!

That’s right, many blogs and sites have dedicated Twitter accounts (frequently using Twitterfeed) that spit out headlines and links every time a new post appears.  Additionally, lots of bloggers connect their wordpress installs to their twitter accounts using plugins to notify when they’ve written something new (I use Ingoal’s Twitter Updater, which is fine except it uses zz.gd as a shortener rather than bit.ly)

So Twitter has become my RSS Purgatory, and I frequently ‘downgrade’ blogs that have lived in my RSS reader over to following them.  I’m working on setting up a dedicated Tweetdeck group for these types of accounts, which should further optimize the process.

Do I miss posts? Sure.  But I can safely rely on my community to let me know directly or indirectly when there’s worthwhile reading out there.

So, if you’re like me and have way more feed subscriptions than you could ever keep up with, take an hour, weed the garden, and move some over to Twitter.