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How to Reduce RSS Stress In Your Online Life

Do you subscribe to tons of RSS feeds ? Are there hundreds of unread items in your newsreader ? Do you end up spending more time inside the RSS reader than you would want to ?

If answer to any of the above questions is Yes, you are probably suffering from RIO [RSS Information Overload]. So here are some tips to beat the RSS stress and manage your RSS subscriptions more effectively.

Create Additional Levels of Hierarchy

We have a love-hate relationship with some RSS feeds - we sometimes like them and sometimes not.

Create a new folder [like "Pending Review" or "Under Scrutiny"] and move all such feeds in that folder. Every weekend, clean the folder by deleting feeds that do not interest you anymore. The cycle continues every week.

Create an A-list Folder containing Favorite Feeds

The A-list folder doesn't mean that it will contain feeds only from A-list bloggers - instead it will have feeds that you just can't afford to miss. That could mean your girlfriend's blog, your colleague's blog, etc.

This A-List folder comes in handy when you are running short of time. Just read the feeds inside the A-list folder and mark all the other feeds as read. Also useful when you are traveling and the hotel room has a slow internet connection.

Search by Keywords and Delete

The last week in the blogosphere was dominated by news from CES, Macworld and the iPhone. The iPhone fever gripped almost every blogger and you would find the same iphone photos / screenshots / tech specs everywhere.

The same happened when BlackBerry releases the White Pearl, Scoble resigned from Microsoft, Google changed Adsense policies, etc.

So here's a quick tip to get rid of these run-of-the-mill zillion blog postings from your newsreader. Create a search keyword (like CES or Macworld or iPhone) and run the search over all your unread items. Now mark all the search results as read in one go.

You may miss one or two good commentaries but the reduced weight of the RSS reader will make you feel much better.

Forget Alphabetic sorting, number the feeds

Suppose some of your favorite blogs include Ze Frank, Wired and Jeremy Zawodny. Now the problem is in their name - most newsreaders sort feeds by the feed titles and these blogs would appear at the bottom or somewhere in the middle because of their names.

To move them up the ladder, just rename the feed titles to something like 1 Wired, 2 Ze Frank, 2 Jeremy Zawodny - this ensures that your favorite feeds always stay on top. [Check this screenshot from Brajeshwar]

And Finally..

You just returned from vacation and the newsreader is overflowing with content that needs your attention.

Here's a simple trick to handle this load - goto the root folder and select "Mark All Items as Read". Now open the Techmeme River of News website and read the the important stories that you might have missed while on vacation.