Monday, January 11, 2010

RSS Anonymous

I think I'm starting to develop an addiction to RSS feeds.

It was a very casual habit at first. I noticed the little orange logo at the end of certain web addresses one day and decided to find out what it meant. I figured out how to subscribe to a few random things that I checked from time to time (craigslist seaches for Mac items, new articles from the newspaper, new posts in my hometown team's fan board...) in the FireFox menu bar. It was simple, it was easy...and they just kept coming in.

More and more sites started to add RSS capability. Then my employer rolled out SharePoint to all of the departments and I found I could keep up with documents related to my work just by adding the feeds in Outlook. I would read everything...and then go find more things to subscribe to.

Things accelerated when a friend of mine recommended I try using Google Reader last year (thanks Brian). I started off with a few subscriptions here and there but when I didn't see any new updates coming in for an hour or two I went after my subscriptions. "Surely, there must be something going on that I need to scan in 3 seconds or less," I'd say to myself as I went feed hunting.

I looked at my statistics in Google Reader a month ago and was shocked to see 80+ subscriptions in there. "What? That can't be right." I cut loose a few that only produced updates every 4 or 5 days, then added a few more that updated 4-5 times a day. Looking at my stats today (Sunday) is a bit more disturbing than it was at the end of last year. It's time for me to take the first step. 

Here are some numbers:

  • Subscriptions: 106
  • Items read: 14,045
  • Frequently updated subscriptions: 1) Articles - 67.3/day 2) eRepublik military events widget - 58.1/day 3) craigslist atlanta/church search - 49.7/day 4) Top Stories from Newser - 49.4/day 5) Metro news (AJC) - 24.0/day

My name is Giovanni, and I'm addicted to RSS feeds.

Hey, I know I'm not the only one. You can tell me about your RSS problems in the Comments section. I should also point out that RSS is a really great tool to use in the same fashion as Twitter. Both can sometimes be too much of a good thing though...

Special thanks to Matthew Inman for the RSS graphics. You can check out his site at (I need to get me one of those short urls one day...)

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