Keeping up with other blogs is a fun part of blogging, but it can also be tough as you add more and more feeds to your RSS reader. If you groan whenever you open your feed reader, then it’s time to get tough with feed management
How many of the feeds in your reader do you actually look at? If you use Google Reader, then click on the trends button to see which feeds you read most and which are updated most often. That’s a good starting point for cutting back on the feeds you don’t have time to look at. I’ve found that many people share their best stuff on Twitter, which means that if I follow them, I can keep up with their posts that way.
If you need to keep up with a wide range of topics because you blog for business, then use labels and folders to separate those feeds from the ones that you absolutely must see every day. If you’re in a hurry, you can look at the essentials and mark the others as read to avoid seeing the dreaded 1000+ unread items label.
Another option is to import your RSS feeds via OPML into another site such as PostRank or Toluu. One of the features of PostRank is that it allows you to filter the best posts on particular blogs based on comments, links and bookmarks. Using PostRank is a good way to see only the stuff that’s causing a stir online, which will help you to keep your blog up to date and relevant. When you import your feeds into Toluu, you get list of tags with the most feeds as well as the top ranked blogs from your feed reading list. If you wish, you can focus just on these to reduce RSS overload. However, I don’t think Toluu works as well as my next recommendation.
Reject (Your Reader)
If you want to throw out your RSS reader altogether, try Lazyfeed. To use it, just add a few sources (Twitter, Delicious, your blog URL and so on) and Lazyfeed will pull in content that might interest you. On the left side it shows ‘topics for the lazy me’ which is a list of recently updated topics that match your interests. Click on a tag to see what’s around. Lazyfeed styles itself a ‘discovery engine’ and it’s true that you might discover new stuff you would have missed when you use it. However, it’s also a great way to keep up with what you really want to read in a manageable way. You can also check out the hot topics section (similar to Twitter, Google Trends or Yahoo Buzz) to see trending news.
Using these tools will help to significantly reduce RSS clutter, which will help you to keep on top of the topics that matter so you can discuss those on blogging and microblogging sites. And there’s a bonus tip for Firefox/Google Reader users. Use Feedly to put your feeds into a readable magazine style interface and to clean up your RSS feeds based on the ones you actually use.