I can haz Google Reader halp?

My Google Reader is a mess:

My messy Google Reader inbox

My messy Google Reader inbox

Over 600 posts from Birmingham bloggers unread and goodness knows how many posts from journalism blogs.

So, taking inspiration from Stef Lewandowski’s email blitz, I have decided to attack my RSS feeds in a similar merciless style.

I want to hack back, which means being more selective about the blogs that I read on a daily basis.

So my plan at the moment is to keep three main areas of interest “Journalism”, “Birmingham” and “Technology”.

Within each category there will be two folders. One folder for the “must read” stuff to check daily, the other for me to check when I’ve got more time on my hands.

In the “must read” category I suspect I want no more than ten blogs per folder.

Journalism: Buzzmachine, Online Journalism Blog and Greenslade.

Technology: Mashable, Paid Content and TechCrunch.

Birmingham: Created in Birmingham

… I find the Birmingham section difficult because it’s like getting rid of friends! I think I could take more blogs if they are from individuals that don’t update that regularly. Yet, I know I’m going to have to bite the bullet and streamline Google Reader, so any suggestions would be most gratefully received.

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11 Responses to “I can haz Google Reader halp?”


  1. 1 Dubber July 12, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    There is a way to do this, but it’s pretty brutal.

    Go for a top 50. Make 10 folders with different topics – and then choose the 5 most crucial feeds in each category. That makes decision-making really easy. If it’s not in the top 5, it’s not in your reader. At least for now.

    Make an 11th folder. This is for feeds on probation. If they prove essential, then add them in. If, after a couple of weeks, you could stand to lose them, then lose them.

    I went down from over 1000 feeds to 50. It’s crept back up to 82 now, but these are sites that have earned their place.

    And if you can pick your top 5 journalism feeds… why not add them to http://5alist.com so we can all see?

  2. 2 joannageary July 12, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the great advice – I think you are quickly becoming Birmingham blogosphere’s organisation guru!

    And when I’ve figured out my top five journalism blogs I shall of course post them to 5alist. 🙂

  3. 3 Jeff Jarvis July 12, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    When you’re done, please publish an OPML file of the results so others of us can import it and get our acts together.

  4. 4 dp July 12, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    I don’t have quite this issue, but I think I’d auto-expire everything older than a day, then do periodic searches for a given topic. I run several automated keyword searches every day, and browse the results for things that stand out.

  5. 5 hellraiser.rishi July 12, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Hi guys…I have been using Google Reader for almost a week now…and to be honest mine was messier than you….I got around 1600+ unread posts after 3 days!!!
    But now I found this…
    http://gr.aiderss.com/
    Its a cool ranking system that allows us to filter and show posts above some threshold…I has a FF extension as well as a greasemonkey script…I hope this solves your problem….

  6. 6 joannageary July 12, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Hi Jeff – will do, I hadn’t even thought of that!

    dp: i like that idea. Oddly it’s something I do with my emails but never thought about with Google Reader. Thanks!

    Hellraiser: off to check out the link right now. Thanks!

  7. 7 paulbradshaw July 14, 2008 at 8:09 am

    @hellraiser thanks for that plugin – looks useful. I briefly used an RSS reader which you could set to only display posts with a certain no. of inbound links – Tailrank. I stopped using it because you ended up seeing stuff only after everyone else had and had linked to it.

    Although I have a horrendous no. of unread feeds, I’m not sure I’d whittle it down to the top 50, because then I’d be reading what everyone else is. I’ve started checking Google Reader on my mobile every morning which means I just see the most recent from a relatively diverse set of blogs.

    PS: I would add ReadWriteWeb to the tech ones – for relevant posts like this: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/rss_filter_prod.php

  8. 8 hellraiser.rishi July 15, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Good to see people find that useful…I’ve been using it for more than 4 days and am pretty much impressed…

    @paulbradshaw I don’t think it just uses inbound links to rank posts….I believe it has a more sophisticated system for ranking…Though I am not pretty sure…But I’ve found many posts just a few minutes old being ranked above 5!!! i think it also considers the reputation and the number of posts produced by the blog….

  9. 9 dom July 15, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    I feel your pain. I have accidentally been avoiding my Google Reader items since last week and had 329 earlier. Having a blitz now. Lucky a lot of mine were reposts of iPhone news from about 4 different sources.
    Hope things get neater soon.
    Have you thought about reading your posts online as you travel to work? Better than the Metro.

  10. 10 Andy Mabbett July 21, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    Pipe your feeds through FeedRinse (http://feedrinse.com/) or similar. For instance, I strip all my tech feeds of anything with “game”, “mac” or “iphone” in the title; and my BBC West Midlands traffic news feed of anything which does not have “Birmingham” in the title.


  1. 1 RSS readers: why have just one? | Online Journalism Blog Trackback on July 30, 2008 at 8:27 am

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