Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Clean up session in Google Reader

A few days ago I decided there was time for a clean up in the feeds I'm following. My aggregator of choice is Google Reader. I use it because it's sleek, fast and comes with some juicy features like graphs about your following habits compared to posting frequency.

Image by Eneas

If you don't know what a feed is, please check these 2 links:
My clean up process included some folders deletion, creation of others, reassigned existing feeds to various folders, unsubscribed from a couple of feeds I haven't been following in a long while.

Feedback on Teamness from Google Reader

In this post I described how we monitor Teamness presence on the web. Google Reader is playing a big role in this, being my RSS and Atom feeds aggregator. I grouped all the feeds obtained for Teamness search options described in the abovementioned post in a folder called About Teamness.

Google Alerts, with which I follow keywords of interest on the web, recently started to offer RSS feeds, besides email. I defined a couple of alerts with terms related to project management and collaboration and I saved their RSS feeds into Google reader. They went into a folder called Teamness terms.

Competition has to be followed from time to time, also. It has its assigned folder called Teamness competitors.

Structure of the feeds

Google Reader allows to put your feeds in different folders. These folders are actually like labels. Or like tags, if you prefer. Therefore, you can assign a feed to multiple folders. This is a bit confusing, even when you try to say it: "I assigned a couple of folders to my feed" or "I put my feed in a few folders" ... doesn't sound natural. I don't understand why Google didn't name them labels, as in Gmail, instead of folders. This post contains some brief thoughts about ontology and organizing data, if you're interested on the topic.

Anyway, getting back to my cleanup process, I made 15 folders in which I put (or assigned, or assigned to) my 117 feed subscriptions. Now, to be honest, I don't actually follow all of them. It seems fairly impossible to me, even though I heard about bloggers claiming that they're following more than 1000 feeds per day. Following doesn't necessarily mean reading. I came up with the organizational scheme described in this post in order to get the most from my feeds.

Getting neat with iGoogle

iGoogle is another gimmick from ubiquitous Google. It's a customizable page, where you can add gadgets such as weather forecast, joke of the day, news and many many more.

iGoogle has a gadget called ... hmm ... Google Reader which can show the feeds you have in the Google Reader itself. The nice thing about this gadget is that you can ask it to display only the feeds in a certain folder.

Therefore, in this revolutionary organization enthusiasm, I made two more folders, which I assigned to two Google Reader gadgets in iGoogle. These folders are called: Essential and Mild.

contains feeds which are highly important and which I check often, like 2-3 times per day. Mild contains feeds that are still important, but not as important as those in Essential, and gets read once about 1-2 days.

All that is in the folder About Teamness goes also in Essential. Some blogs that I want to follow frequently go there as well.

This setup is pretty neat and allows me to focus on what's important, or essential. I also don't miss other news, of lower importance, which I gather in Mild. When time allows, I can go Google Reader and browse through the other folders, like Photography.

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