Of course, there's the "why aren't you doing this with RSS" crowd too, but with 25k subscribers and growing, I'm finding it pays to focus on those who actually want the e-mails!
Like the author, I too had dozens of feeds coming in and about a month ago I paired them down to under thirty or so and now I probably receive a couple dozen items a day versus hundreds previously, many of which you all know were duplicates or Techcrunch-like filler blurbs. I knew it was bad when people suggested that I needed infinite scroll for my reader, but there was always something about possessing information as it happened in real time* versus having the community discover it for you.
Now if I could only stop copying stuff to Everlater and actually do something with it.
Already subscribed to Ruby and JS and absolutely love them. Thanks for the great job!
I built an Original view to solve this very issue. It's solving the crux of the RSS problem for people like this. You want to follow dozens of writers but you also want to go to their site. But since they may be infrequent, RSS is the only decent answer. NewsBlur's Original view couples the benefit of RSS with the writer's artistic intention in site design and flow.
I also added a trainable intelligence filter to hide stories from those constant-stream multiple-author blogs.
Actually, that's one of the prime reason why I'm an ardent RSS reader user: It's a pretty neat way to just get the content of an article. And as we're talking about news and blog posts here, that's what it all should be about, not your great typekit-served webfont, not your twitter and facebook sidebars, not your blogroll.
My current approach basically has three tiers: First, I scroll through everything in Google Reader. Using keyboard shortcuts I skip the uninteresting parts, read the short blogs, and if there's a longer article that's interesting (or a crippled feed's abstract looks that way), I'll press "v" and get the article in a new tab (using a Firefox preference or a Chrome extension, this tab opens in the background).
After I'm "Inbox Zero" with my feed, I'll read those tabs. Quite often I have to use the print view or Readability on it to actually get to the basic content for those.
And if those are too long or, while basically interesting, not very enticing or needed at the moment, I'll send them to Instapaper and read it at leisure later.
I think there's a Mac app that has something similar to your Original view, but personally, that would be a big step backwards regarding usability for me. Never mind that quite often it's not really the writer's "artistic intention" you're ignoring, but that of the news site's designers or the WordPress theme author (quite often not chosen for the readability of the body text). There aren't that many Jason Santa Marias out there who create unique styles for every blog post (and where style and substance actually exist in harmony).
Apparently using RSS in this way is somehow different than how most people use it. People complain about feeling guilty or somehow stressed out by unread counts. People complain about a psychological pressure to keep up with and read everything in a feed or collection of feeds.
However, I'm left wondering whether this is an issue with how the tools are designed, or perhaps with how RSS is framed. Perhaps we need to develop tools that deemphasize unread counts and instead further emphasize browsing or discontinuous digestion of the content streams.
Moving to a priority model where folders are listed in order of general importance to me, sounds like a real improvement -- the ability to nuke lower priority folders without concern.
Thanks for the idea.
That's both bases covered without compromise.
Some readers already have some machine learning stuff built in, like Google Reader's 'sort by magic' feature. (It works OK, not great.)
I have not played with it a lot, but its claim to fame seems to fit your need.
I also have my feeds organized into folders, so that the more frequently updating but news worthy stuff is in one folder and the others are other places ... depending on the time I have I go through them in a particular order and it works very well.
But yes, the truth is that sites that create RSS feeds need to be a bit more picky about what they publish ... especialy since they practice that same self restraint in publishing things to facebook, if they have a presence there
Everybody believes that everyone else should use the internet^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H RSS in the way they do it.
Granted, most RSS reader applications get RSS horribly wrong, and erroneously graft the email “inbox” pattern as the UI focus, instead of a river to be skimmed (with power to dive in deep, too). Google Reader is the best in a sorry lot, but mainly because Google sports an inherent advantage (even in the foolhardy sense they’ve implemented it thus far) with its ominous search capability. Read and unread item counts matter not a scintilla to me, as I care just for nimbleness in scanning “what’s new” in the subject matters of my choosing in a chronological manner.
I enjoy reading RSS on Google Reader. It has totally supplanted the time I used to allot to “reading the newspaper”. I know I’ve shared this before, but I keep pace with 2,600 subscriptions. No, I certainly do not read every item and probably only click through less than 10-20% of items. Not true for all sites, as the frequently updated sites get clicked at a 2-3% rate whereas treasured, infrequently updated sites have all their items read. But I don’t fret over unread items and even if I miss reading for a day or two, I feel no obligation to “catch up”, and instead, if I want to review items of interest I may have missed, I use the “Search” feature.
Oh, additionally, all of the mobile and/or tablet RSS reader applications are colossal failures, except for maybe Flipboard, which comes at RSS in a different tact, mainly via Twitter. The whole point of RSS is accelerating the pace at which web content is perused. Doing RSS with a subscription set count of less than a hundred is not much of an efficiency improvement. And the mobile and/or tablet offerings simply choke and sputter on a larger dataset (unless there are new, or updated, offerings I am unaware of). Also, Google Reader (as well as all the Google web products) suck massively on the mobile platforms — it’s why my iPad mostly collects dust and the MacBook Air (using Chrome/Chromium in full screen mode) shines — for the superior Google Reader experience.
I'm hoping to have it on the server by tonight, I will submit it here tomorrow for you guys to beat up and critique :)
I'm not saying I'm particularly against driving hits to a website to show ads (although I really am), but to me it defies the purpose of RSS feeds. (Opinion)
Why do that when you can use an RSS reader that will only lists the articles? Instead of memorizing where the articles are on each website, just use RSS when you want to browse manually.