November 05, 2008

Combine Friends and Google Reader for Best News Filtering

By Chris Miller of TheSocialNetworker (Twitter/FriendFeed)

For those of you that truly digest RSS, it has become more than a super-sized meal. You are gorging yourself to keep up. Each day you find yourself discovering new feeds through links and sites like Toluu. I slowly dug through hundreds of feeds a day, mastering the Google Reader keyboard shortcuts as I utilized it more. I found myself making folders, sorting feeds, importing more OPML and watching the unread count grow larger every morning. And you could forget about trying to catch up after a long weekend!

So this is where I began to change my mindset and workflow. I surrounded myself with trusted friends that have the same indulgences and interests as myself. I began building a wide array of people and started adding them to my Google chat client so they would also show in my reader. I then sat back and watched as the shared links came in. Not too surprisingly, many of the exact articles I found interesting, they did also. That is why they are my friends in the first place. As the shared items grew, my need to visit my own folders lessened.

Let me explain more in detail. I had about 14 folders for sorting purposes and a general bucket. The general bucket got looked in on at an ever increasing gap in time. I found myself scanning the first few then marking all read. This means those feeds could possibly be removed, but it was nt like I was wasting space or anything, so of course they stay. I would find a good story here and there, but the most part I had added them for one good story and found nothing else really came out. The effort to weed through is now larger than the effort to ignore them.

The remainder of the folders were sorted by my own mental process and it works great. Each folder gets attention at least twice weekly, some daily. When I am working on a project or article, well maybe more than once a day. What happens to the rest? They either sit a few days until I change back to that folder or I mark them as read and declare feed bankruptcy on a semi regular basis.

Here comes the change. Once I started noticing that my freinds were sharing the same feeds I found interesting, I took a chance and started working from those folders more often. I grew my friend base and even solicited more of my Twitter followers and other networks to link up. My library grew as well as my enormous filter.

I have basically outsourced my feed reading. I rely on a large amount (always taking more) of workers, that I hire for free, to sort through my news, announcements, stories and excellent blog postings. They then provide filtering and share to me what should be focused on immediately. I choose to look at the others when I have a moment. Like sitting in the car waiting on yet another child to finish yet another activity. Bless the Google Reader for Blackberry.

I then, in return, become a worker for my friends by sharing an filtering feeds to a finer granularity that many of them use as a feed. Mainly the staff that works for me. They have now gotten a cleansed feed that has been through many filters and then the final siphon. All built around being a friend, sharing with a click and then doing the same in return. I thank all my filters and would like to expand my empire. So add me as a friend and lets get to filtering. for google chat (not e-mail, Twitter me otherwise).

Chris Miller, for starters, is the author of TheSocialNetworker and the podcast TheSocialGeeks. He is an avid social media consumer, tester and early adopter, which leads to his apparent enthusiasm to write and podcast site reviews. He even sneaks in his own opinions. You can find Chris on all the social networks (yes, really almost every one of them) as IdoNotes, including Twitter.