Sunday, December 23, 2007

Google Reader Organization of Lack Thereof

This post doesn't get into shared items (the way I use shared items is probably dramatically different from everyone else), but it does get into how you organize your Google Reader feeds in the first place.

Google Reader allows you to place each feed into a folder, and I have carefully and painstakingly organized my feeds so that each feed goes into a single folder. Daniel Miessler has a better way:

I happen to use (and highly recommend) Google Reader, and what follows is a multi-tiered approach to classifying and reading your feeds using an often ignored feature of the application....

The key to [my] whole system is that each individual feed can have multiple tags assigned to it. This feature is there for a reason.

What this allows us to do is put our feeds in...three categories simultaneously. This gives us the simplicity of knowing what to read at any given moment, but at the same time it links all three categories together. So if you read TechCrunch from one view it gets marked as read in the others as well.

In Miessler's case, he used what he calls a three-dimensional approach, which can be summarized as follows:

  • All feeds are marked by importance: primary, secondary, or tertiary.

  • All feeds are also marked by subject (e.g. security)

  • All feeds are also marked with a contextual consideration (e.g. stuff to read at work, stuff to read during lunch, etc.)
Miessler's specific organizational method isn't important, but what is important is that you can develop an organizational method of your own. I've been thinking about this for a few days and haven't hit upon an optimum solution (for my money, Miessler's method is a little too complex), but it's good to know that the capability is available.

Frankly, though, I should probably work on my first dimension before I try to incorporate a second. I currently have a catchall folder called "blogs from others," a couple of folders for blog and news searches, plus three folders associated with particular corporations (Google, Microsoft, and Oracle, the latter a holdover from Oracle OpenWorld 2007). And there's also a "me" folder to satisfy my egotistical nature (but, ironically, my vanity blog search is in my blog search folder, not my "me" folder).

Then, once I work out my first and second dimensions, I need to figure out how best to incorporate the feeds of others. I have been subscribing to Robert Scoble's feed for some time, and recently (upon his invitation, which last I checked was still open) took up his offer to add him as a Google Talk/Chat friend to enable shared feeds in that way. (Miessler's article, by the way, is something that I got from Scoble's shared feed.) I haven't made any great effort to seek out other shared feeds, but if I do, where should I put them?

If you want to access my shared feed without going through the whole Google Talk/Chat friend thing, you can check my blog itself, or you can look at the page, or you can look at the feed Note, however, that I don't keep items in my shared feed for all that long, discarding them after a few days. Some items (like the Miessler item) make it into my mrontemp blog, while others don't (not through any fault of their own, but just because even my blogging habits aren't able to cover everything).

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