On Removing Good Feeds From RSS

Warning: not about anything particularly Transpacific.

For some weeks, I found blogging overwhelming. For someone who gets significant income writing a blog affiliated with a major tech news site and committed to developing this site, this is a disconcerting phenomenon.

So I decided to take drastic measures. Google Reader had grown unmanageable. At somewhere around 185 feeds and more than 1,000 entries on an average day, I decided it was time to start deleting things. After a painstaking process of removing everything I could bare to, I’m down to about 150. That’s still a lot of traffic, but by removing high-traffic feeds that tended to include doubled content from other feeds, I have cut my RSS reading stress by a huge margin.

A few gripes:

  • Each story in the The International Herald Tribune‘s Asia-Pacific section tended to appear four or five times for the last few weeks. I figure between some strategic keyword-based feeds and the fact that I haven’t yet nuked the New York Times top stories feed I won’t miss much. But IHT and other large organizations should probably get their feeds working well enough not to spam me. I may forgive smaller publishers. Then again, I may not…
  • Today I unsubscribed from an extremely low-traffic mailing list belonging to FreeCulture, and interesting student group I’d started watching more than a year ago. Why unsubscribe when there’s little traffic? Every month, rather than any sort of update from the organization, which seems pretty dormant, I received an e-mail reminding me that I was subscribed. After more than ten of those, I got sick of hearing about it and gave up. Yearly reminders, fine. Monthly? This is not necessary.

A few thoughts:

  • I moved all of my U.S. politics reading off of RSS and started visiting a few blogs regularly. I kept a few feeds from my home state of Colorado, but in this hyperactive political season, I think I will do OK with occasional visits to key sites and those run by people I actually know.

Finally, I’ve cut in half the Transpacifica blogroll. Before I had up here a list of things that at times sought to be comprehensive. I’ve realized that’s impossible and I’m not the guy to do it. Not that we might not spend time profiling other sites in the future and enlarge the list, but sites like China Law Blog are doing a good job already highlighting newcomers and lesser-known sites. What you see on the right now is a culled list, though possibly incomplete, of what I see as key sites, admittedly China-heavy, that engage transpacific issues.

We’ll see how much time passes before I give in and start adding feeds again. Until the feed medium advances in some radical ways, this will be an endless battle.

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