Trimming in Public – Part 1

Where do I start?

About three years ago, a good chap I know decided he’d ‘become a better blogger‘, by cleaning out his RSS reader in public. I can’t remember how far he got (Did you actually finish it, Stefan?), but I remember reading avidly.

For those that don’t know, RSS, is a really easy way to consume web-based content. Imagine every site you look at, every blog you read, has a hook attached to it. That’s its RSS feed. Every time new content gets published, a new hook is added. Simple. An RSS reader is your fishing rod; trawling the internet looking for new hooks. You add a website’s RSS feed to your reader and, whenever a new hook appears, the reader picks it up, and brings the content attached, to you. I use Google Reader, but other readers are available. Also, Stefan’s original post has a fairly decent guide to RSS as well.

Where was I? 

That’s right, I’m taking out the trash. Ever since Google Reader went from being awesome to just ‘OK’, my intake of cool stuff has dropped a fair bit. To continue curating and preening, I’m going to publicly air my laundry – aka ‘trimming in public’ – hopefully making some room for more feeds and generally sharing the wealth of content that I’ve picked up over the years.

As Stefan so eloquently puts it –

With 293 RSS feeds and only 24 hours in my day, I desperately need to trim this sucker down. I used to be able to “hit zero,” also known as reading all my RSS items, but lately it has been impossible. I could have done this in private, during my own time, but one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. By going through my entire list of 293 RSS feeds, 10 feeds a day, I hope that I can point you to some new sites and services you may have never heard of. I also have a strong ethos regarding sharing. If I find something interesting, awesome or worthy of attention, I share it with my friends and with the world on my Twitter account. I expect people to do the same and at the end of the day we, as a people, will put an end to boredom.

And I’m all for it.

I’ve got 279 (so not too dissimilar).
10 feeds an episode (that’s around 28 blog posts).
Numbers through letters (1-Z).

Let’s do this.

1000heads | Socialcast Activity Stream
Back at the ‘heads, we used Socialcast as our internal social network of choice. Very similar to Facebook (and Jaiku, actually) it was a great way to share information across the company. I don’t work at 1000heads anymore, so the internal RSS feed of all goings on should definitely go.
Decision: Remove

1000heads: The Word of Mouth People
Still with the ‘heads as we make our way through the numbers, this is the blog of my former employer and, from time to time, it’s still a bloody good read. Molly, Riccardo, lately Patrick, and sometimes even Robbie, all (semi-)regularly contribute to pull different insights from in and around all things word of mouth. An interesting nexus of offline, online, social media and experiential ideas; this relationships agency blog is a keeper.
Decision: Keep

101 Things to Do in London
I met Ben Wallace back in April 2011, on the Transmongolian Railway – and I honestly could not have asked for a better travel buddy. There were four of us all thrown together that month, but Ben and I giggled and laughed like a couple of long lost best mates the whole way through (sometimes, with hats). 101 Things to Do in London is his attempt at trying to complete the Timeout 101 things to do in London before the Olympic games. Boldly assisted by his other half, Fliss, 101TTDIL is not only quite a fun read but also a handy guide to what is and what isn’t, worth your tourist money here in London town. Ben hasn’t got long left, so I’m staying tuned.
Decision: Keep

101 W*nkers
I am massively disappointed that this site has stopped publishing. From the looks of the page now, the URL hasn’t been renewed either (and has been bought by ads asking me if I’m into wife-swapping – ooer). What 101W used to be a catalogue of the insults and comments Guardian journalist, Dawn Foster, had shouted at her whilst riding her bike (the older and out of date 101W Tumblr site is still around, for reference purposes). I don’t know why she’s stopped writing, but now the site is gone I guess my choice is easy.
Decision: Remove

Martin Bryant is a smart chap. He’s sharp and I like his writing but I guess being Managing Editor at The Next Web is kind of a busy gig, as this blog hasn’t been updated since July 2009. Definitely time for some RSS house-keeping here… But, hang on, having a kick around Martin’s profile on TNW and I’ve found his new blog – Guess I’ll be subscribing to that then. In the meantime however, 14sandwiches can go.
Decision: Remove

25 lttrs n th alphbt
The blog of a senior planner bloke from advertising agency, DARE. This very occasionally updated blog provides rants, moans and sometimes even insights around all things advertisingy. That aside,  Nick Emmel is a lovely chap, and once wore my indian headress.
Decision: Keep

(365) Things That Make Me Happy

Back in my SpinVox days, Chris Funderberg was one of the badasses that worked down in the IT room. The man got stuff done, and rarely took any prisoners. I remember having a few interesting chats with him over the two years we spent working under the same roof together, on a myriad of subjects, and his tumblr blog is a definite fave. Initially setup as a 365 project (blog one thing that makes you happy, for every day in the year) he’s now dropped the 365 and has continued posting his happiness for a good couple of years. Great imagery, quotes and druidism.
Decision: Keep

Defunct blog of an ex-employer’s ex-client’s community.
Decision: Remove

4 Fuks Saké
A relatively new addition to my Google Reader, I’ve not read enough to make an informed decision. Although if Jim’s last post ‘Hey Guys, I’m A Bit Uncomfortable You Made A $1bn. Let’s Have A Diet Coke And Talk.‘ is anything to go by, it’s a keeper.
Decision: Keep

Without doubt the best Foursquare app to ever grace a Symbian mobile phone, 4squick is a gorgeous piece of software. Alas, a few things are working against it staying: First, the developers have a fair bit on their collective plates (babies and new jobs and all sorts), second, I no longer have a Symbian phone (that I use regularly) and third, the Symbian platform is on its way out.
Decision: Remove

Part one complete. Part two to come when I get ’round to it.

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14 thoughts on “Trimming in Public – Part 1”

  1. Like it, great way of being able to recommend blogs that are worth reading / subscribing to.

    James Reply:

    Thanks Tony, fingers crossed I make it through to the end! 😉

  2. I really need to do this, too. I may copy you, if that’s OK.

    James Reply:

    I’m fairly sure you’ll be copying Stefan, but hey – who’s counting? Share the wealth!

  3. Wow – that seems like a lot of work! 🙂

    I love RSS too, and rely on it more and more, especially as I don’t have a TV anymore. And I do occasionally go thru and weed out some blogs, and have unsubscribed from blogs by people who talk about how great they are, basically talking over my head and not to me.

    I also agree GReader isn’t what it used to be, and when I get some free time (with 2 kids, what even is that?!) I am planning to install Fever – – which comes on high recommendation and can work just like GReader or do analysis on what I really want to read. And of course Google will have no idea what I am reading, all the better.

    And not just to suck up, but will forever be aggregated with the best of them in whatever reader I use for one reason – you make me think!


  4. James: Yes, I did finish, though since then I’ve cut back even more on my feeds. These days I have “just” 94 subscriptions, but most of them are actually image blogs (read: Tumblr blogs). Whereas before I had all my feeds in one long list, now I have two folders: Work Stuff and Fun Stuff. The Fun Stuff I don’t stress too much about hitting zero, and the Work Stuff, there are some feeds in there I absolutely devour, while others I leave lingering.

    To tell you the truth, I’m not that much of an RSS addict anymore. I’ve augmented my news consumption with Twitter. There I have a hard limit of following a maximum of 100 accounts. I do my best to read every tweet that those 100 people post. If there’s a Twitter account that I want to follow, I painstakingly go through the list of people I’m currently following and decide which one to remove.

    There are a lot of curators out there, but there’s only a handful of people who genuinely have something interesting to say.

    And as for you “stealing” my idea, I say go for it! Ideas are worthless, it’s all about the execution, and hey, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

    Oh and one more thing, I don’t buy this whole “information overload” problem. People just need to be more judicious when it comes to picking the information they actually consume. I’m much the same way on Facebook, with “only” 92 friends.

  5. I commend you good sir.

    I may have a harder job here – and this is after a serous bout of dropping a folder of 50

    “From your 462 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 5,630 items, clicked 261 items, starred 229 items, and emailed 4 items.
    Since May 10, 2007 you have read a total of 293,713 items.”

  6. That makes it a lot of posts – I like the idea and as Stefan and others said, excellent way to recommend content. I don’t know that I’ll go back to using a RSS reader though. I’d dropped Google Reader for Netvibes years ago and then dropped RSS altogether for the more random approach of clicking links via Twitter, Facebook and typing in urls of blogs and websites I know when I’m in the mood / have time for reading stuff. The huge number of unread posts on my reader was just depressing and the times when I ventured to go through loads of posts to clear were sheer information overload and felt brain bloated afterwards. Dunno, might give it another whirl, after all I’m still writing in my own blog (occasionally).

    James Reply:

    It is indeed a metric ton of posts but that’s cool in that it gives me a nice project to tick over on whenever I don’t have anything to write about.

    What with that and my ‘5 things on Friday’, I’m basically sorted for content for the rest of the year.

    PLUS I get to share more awesome, as well as become a better blogger along the way 🙂

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