The Social Networker

by Chris Miller at 10:39:08 AM on Monday, May 19th, 2008
RSS has become such a high flow, nay a waterfall of information, we are always on the hunt for the better, bigger, stronger feed reader. I have no intention of specifying, recommending or telling you which to get. I will make a bunch of links for options at the end. Instead, I wanted to direct you into what you should look for in your reader and what feedback we need to give the readers developers. The overall theme is I want to spend the minimalist amount of time managing my reader, make it do the work for me to the best possible outcome. Do this from anywhere and be fast at it. A big list, but it can be done

The ability to give more feeds higher importance is a key factor and quite the limiting one at that in selecting a reader. Most of the readers simply let you import, add and watch RSS feeds, no matter what kind they are. But how do I always get the most important ones to the top? A finely tuned ranking system will let you specify particular authors, topics, keywords and postings that should move their way to some form of alternate and pronounced notification. This could be highlighted, always sitting at the top of your reader or it simply moves it's way there. Alphabetical is a nice option when you have a few feeds, but when you reach maximum capacity, it is unacceptable as the only way to view them. Even folders have the same effect, so don't attempt to go there with me.

Now in saying that, ranking needs to be coupled with locating, that I talk about below. A proper reader will take my keywords and add that to not only the weight I manually assign, but make it stronger in ranking when it includes a keyword. Heck, even MarshallK on Twitter liked the fact he could see his feeds by how often he clicked to read more of the feed item. That is taking ranking up a notch if it did the rest.

This is quite simply the easiest portion. I want the same feeds to show as read/unread across multiple machines and devices. Web, mobile and desktop. Let me control how often you expire older entries out in a main profile and then case by case basis. From there, possibly archive them in the same structure I had them for searchable reference. It is just text for gosh sakes all to the same sources. You just need to store my preferences and markings. Make the reader easy on the eyes, transformed for mobility and minimal clicks to get things done lilke sharing, marking, commenting and storing.

Allow for me to specify certain authors, keywords and sites from ever showing. A blacklisting of sorts for my reader. I love this site YY, but never want a posting on ZZ to show in the stream. Not a difficult concept is it?

I hit on this above in rankings and should expand more. Simply forcing me to go and find more feeds in todays massive waterfall is unacceptable. Make the software work for me, not just with me. Let it go find me content based on items I tag the most, read the most or simply specify. Bring me information instead of me having to forage my way and click to add feeds to my readers.

So you may have even one or two more items that are required for your daily ability to keep up. I would love to hear about them. Comment on here or send me a Tweet.

Some choices that I have played with or use.. in no order nor even closely inclusive at all.
for even more, see my Diigo bookmarks right here for another dozen or so..



  • 1) RSS Feed ranking, reading, ignoring and locating the right waterfall
    Created by Declan Lynch at 05/19/2008 1:11:54 PM email | website

    How about...

    Comments. There are already extentions in RSS to get the number of comments and even supply in each RSS item a link to a special feed that contains the actual comments. SpeedReader did an excellent job of this, allowing you to expand an entry out to list the comments. There is also an API available to allow feedreaders to be able to post comments to a blog. I would love to see more feed readers and blog software packages supporting this.

    Linking. For feeds that include the entire rich post with links it would be nice if the feed reader could determine when more then one blog posting is linking to the same url. Kind of like a 'Related Posts' feature.

    When you talk about ranking do you envision the ranking being stored locally or maybe some sort of API to push the ranking back to the source blog. They could then display that ranking on the site or include it in the rss feed so you can have 'your ranking' and 'global ranking' and have the software make decision based on a combination of those. You could even push the tags to the source via the API, allow them to make mini tag clouds based on the number of tags they get back from the readers.

  • 2) RSS Feed ranking, reading, ignoring and locating the right waterfall
    Created by Antonina at 05/20/2008 5:35:48 AM email | website

    One more: { Link }

Discussion for this entry is now closed. Please email me instead

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Yes this is a blatant theft of the outline that Jess uses on her page, but I asked permission. Why?? Because I am a hardcore admin and can make ugly tables to make you developers frustrated, but this was too nice to pass up.

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