Why I Subscribe to 700+ Feeds


I have too many feeds in my RSS reader. Every once in a while, I clear some of them out, but more often, I add new ones. It's crazy, but at this moment, I'm subscribed to over 700 feeds. RSS is my preferred power tool for keeping up with too many sources, and I've found a lot of ways to put it to work.

Here's what's in my feed reader now:

  • My own blogs
    How else would I know when I need to fix a problem?

  • Alerts
    From blog and other service providers. Mostly quiet, but it's good to know if one of them is having problems.

  • Blogs
    A mix of friends, professional acquaintances, and interests, both personal and professional. OK, I have too many of these—the downside of trying to know everything.

  • PR feeds
    For the companies I follow. Their feed if they have one, Page2RSS monitoring if they don't. 60 feeds, which means I've missed some (some don't have news pages to monitor).

  • Search and tag feeds
    Google Blogsearch feeds to track current news events (these don't stay around long). Del.icio.us and Technorati tag feeds to let other people do some of my discovery for me. The tag feeds have been especially helpful.

  • Vanity feeds
    Search feeds on my name (and the most common misspelling), company name, blog title keyword, and URLs. Feeds from del.icio.us, Digg, StumbleUpon and a few others to let me know when (and how) someone tags my sites. 50 feeds—I'll consolidate these when I get time.

  • Social network feeds
    Updates from LinkedIn, FaceBook and Dopplr. Twitter @replies (DMs go to email) and a Tweetscan search on the misspelled version of my name (correct spelling is picked up in Twhirl). Comments on my pictures on Flickr. A wiki watch feed, which I'm ready to delete.

  • Q&A feed
    New questions on TechDirt Insight Community. I had LinkedIn Q&A feeds, but the volume was overwhelming.

  • Event feeds
    Technorati, Flickr, del.icio.us tags. Event blogs. CrowdVine new member feeds. The good news is that traffic falls off once the event is over, and the feeds are an easy way to remember next year.

  • Job search feeds
    Keyword search on Indeed, feeds from job boards related to social media (including my own job board to let me know when someone posts there). You can learn a lot about who's doing what by their hiring needs.

  • Humor and other creativity enhancers
    Hey, it's not all work. You need xkcd.
All those feeds lead to an important distinction between subscribe and read. The feeds are grouped into folders by topic, and some of them get a very quick glance at the headlines before I mark everything read. I don't think I read every item in any folder, and I've become very quick at scanning headlines.

I have too many sources, and I need to clean house (again). But my feed reader is where I direct as many incoming sources as possible, and it saves me a lot of time visiting blogs, search engines and social networking sites. I couldn't do what I do without it.


I'm curious as to how you find time to paid work! Thanks for the link to xkcd, I've added it to my own list.

That distinction between subscribing and reading is a big help, and the "Mark All as Read" button gets a lot of exercise.

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About Nathan Gilliatt

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  • Voracious learner and explorer. Analyst tracking technologies and markets in intelligence, analytics and social media. Advisor to buyers, sellers and investors. Writing my next book.
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