My RSS System

Part of my self defined job, as curator of Minimal Mac, is to monitor a wealth of information via RSS feeds in the hope of finding relevant content to post. My job often means that I am away from my feed reader (Google Reader in my case) for long enough that I return to hundreds and sometimes thousands of items waiting to be read. Obviously, there are only so many hours in a day and catching up would be impossible. That is why I have developed the following system to allow me to process everything I need to when this happens.

I have divided my feeds into the following folders:

* **a-list** – These are everything I consider a “must see”. This is also my shortest list of feeds. To make it to the list you have to have a long history of providing top value content. Not just occasionally, but with almost every post. Daring Fireball is here, Kottke is too. I look at everything that shows up in this list no matter the count. It’s worth it.

* **b-list** – These are feeds that deliver value but not near the regularity of the ones in the a-list. This is an especially good place for the true weblogs where interesting links with short commentary rule the day over long form posts, and not everything is a must read.

* **friends** – These are people I know personally and feel compelled to read them not only to keep up with their lives and what interests them but also so that when they bring up these things in conversation I have background (“Hey, did you see my post on…?”). That said, my friends also very often are first source for interesting content. I hang out with the right people I guess.

* **other** – These are everything that do not fit into the above. Things that are nice to know but not need to know and that I can easily ignore without missing anything. In general, if it is important, I know that someone in the above three lists will cover or link to it. This is also a place for the sites that generate the most posts (Gizmodo, Lifehacker, etc.). The noisier the feed the more likely it is to go here. This is, by far, my largest list of feeds and always contains the bulk of the items in any given day.

* **probation** – Pretty much everything new I add goes here first. Only after a couple of weeks, do I then decide where it belongs in the lists above or, more likely, delete it entirely. A blog has to earn it’s way out of here fairly quickly in order to be a keeper.

Now, how that works in practice is this. If I have a lot of feeds to go through, more than I have the time scan or read, I know I can read the a-list and friends and safely declare bankruptcy and “mark all as read” on the rest. I do this more often than not and have never regretted it.

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