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4 Steps to Optimize Your RSS Subscription List in Google Reader

10 February 2009 Posted by in category: information overload with Tags , , , , , ,

in this post you will learn how to save time and get the most out of your RSS subscription list in Google reader. the method presented here include 4 steps and is easy to implement right away. it is based on finding the sources that fit you best and unsubscribing to those that do not.  just to get some  perspective, take a look at my Google Reader stats. I stay on top of 1,043 subscriptions using that method.

My google reader stats

My google reader stats

1. Star worth-reading items

the first thing you should do is to star items you like.

Do it whenever you find something that you would define as worth reading; thing you would like to see more of (Star an item by clicking the star next to it in the reading list or by pressing ‘S’ in the keyboard).

2. Go to “trends” and compare your reading trends to your subscription tends

In the Upper left corner, press the “trends” link. This page presents all kind of statistics about your feeds reading behaviors.

Now, look at the two tables at the bottom of the page. The left table, Reading trends, presents your item reading trends for the last 30 days. The right table, subscription trends, presents your subscription trends for the last 30 days”.

Under “Reading trends,” click “starred.” You will now see a list of your subscriptions and the number of starred item each of them got (in the past 30 days only!).

3. Delete subscriptions that did not deliver the goods

look at the top of the “subscription trends” list. Relatively, the subscriptions in the top should also be at the top of “starred item” list. Why is that? Because the more items a source post, the more stars you would expect it to get. It does not have to be a perfect correlation. But, if you see a source in the right table that does not appear in the left table – erase it. This source post relatively meny items, but you do not find these items worth reading (i.e. it waste your time).

4. Repeat this process every few months

keep subscribing as much as you wish, but do not forget to clean your subscription list once in a while.


Example - optimizing RSS subscriptions list

In the example screenshot, you can see that the first, third, fifth and sixth, subscriptions (in the “subscription trends” list) are located at the top 20 starred items list (the arrows point to their specific location). But, the second, fourth and fifth subscription don’t even appear at the top 40 starred items list. Therefore, they should be deleted (as noted by the  the red delete next to them).

See  also Google Reader Tips and Practices for Power Users.

3 Responses to “4 Steps to Optimize Your RSS Subscription List in Google Reader”

  1. Ajay Pathak 8 December 2008 at 1:19 pm (PERMALINK)

    hey thanks for sharing this useful information with us.
    i come here after reading u r comment on mashable.

  2. Charlotte Ostermann 7 November 2012 at 4:28 pm (PERMALINK)

    Extremely helpful, thank you so much. The learning curve on all this is steep! One thing that helped me put your great advice to use was changing to a list-of-headlines view from the view-whole-post view of new material. I’ve subscribed to your feed and again, thank you so much for helping non-techies like me get it.