A couple of months ago I lamented my struggle with the flood of blog posts that poured through my Google Reader, even though I only subscribed at the time to 16 feeds, and asked for advice about what to do. In the comments, Felix Salmon recommended that I “get get a proper (ie not web-based) newsreader,” while Peter Varhol and a couple of others offered sage advice about prioritizing my information needs. Elsewhere, Ezra Klein seemed to say that if I just subscribed to more blog feeds and wrote lots more blog posts (as he does), everything would work out.
Well, at some point I would like to try NetNewsWire, which Felix and several others have recommended to me, but for the moment I’ve stumbled across a semi-solution. I now have iGoogle set as my homepage, and in the top center it features a scroll of the five most recent headlines from my Google Reader. I see them at least seven or eight times a day, and don’t find them daunting at all. I click on the ones that look interesting, leave the rest alone, scroll down for more if I’m in the mood, and don’t get worried that I now have 372 unread posts.
Now I’m not getting a prioritized, orderly view of the world this way. But I’m sort of with Nassim Taleb on his argument that the news media expend far too much effort trying to impose structure on random day-to-day events. I don’t want to spend an hour every morning dutifully reading RSS feeds. I want to check in at random times and get a more or less random assortment of posts from writers that I’ve deemed interesting. Which is what I’m getting. I’m up to 37 blog subscriptions, and am adding a couple a day. If I ever get up to 300 like Felix or 622 like Robert Scoble, then I’ll need to find another way, of course. But for now I’m good.