Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Share and share alike - when three incoming Google Reader Shared Items feeds became seven

Last year, I responded to Robert Scoble's invitation and became one of his personal Google Talk buddies. Not that I ever use Google Talk, but this provided me with an avenue to access his Google Reader shared items.

Since then I've only added two other Google Talk buddies for Google Reader purposes - Chris Brogan, and Dana Franks. Franks' shared items, by the way, are sufficiently different from Brogan's and Scoble's so that there isn't any overlap between Franks and the other two. There's occasional overlap between Brogan and Scoble, but not much.

I've been puttering along with these three Google Reader Shared Items feeds for a while, and I've been happy and content. Well, at least until I read this Louis Gray post, and especially this Sarah Perez post.

After reading Sarah's post, I had a mad desired to start adding more Google Reader Shared Items feeds, but I didn't want to go through the whole Google Talk hassle. So I cheated and just grabbed the URLs for four shared items feeds: Gray's, Perez's, Rob Diana's, and Shey Smith's.

This now brings me up to a mind-boggling total of 7 "shared items" feeds that I'm reading. But now I'm going to have to deal with something that many of these other people already dealt with several months ago; namely, the duplication of items in Google Reader Shared Items feeds. It's entirely conceivable that up to six of the seven people - Brogan, Diana, Gray, Perez, Scoble, and Smith - may choose to share the exact same item in their feeds. And if the item in question involves a British television presenter, then Franks will probably share it also.

This wouldn't be too much of a problem, except that I often read Google Reader via Google's mobile interface, which sometimes makes it more difficult to navigate and deal with dozens upon dozens of unread items. So I'm going to wait a little bit before adding more shared items feeds, just to make sure that I can manage the seven that I already have.

However, as I've noted, even duplicate items may have some worth. Google Reader allows you to append comments to your shared items (unfortunately, the mobile edition doesn't support this). So if Person X shares an item, I may also get Person X's perspective on the item itself. For example, when I shared a recent post of Shel Israel's about the divided between bloggers and traditional journalists, I added this highly illuminating comment:

When two tribes go to war, one is all that you can score.

OK, so the comment wasn't that good. But I think that Perez and the others can provide better illumination about this.

By the way, if you want to persue my shared items, a human-readable form of them is here. The Google Reader-compatible feed is here. Be forewarned, however, that I usually delete older items out of the feed after a couple of days; otherwise, I find that the page takes forever to load. In addition, a complete record of everything I've ever shared on Google Reader is available in FriendFeed.

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