I Broke Google Reader: An Adventure in Extreme Reading
As my regular readers know, I am an information junky. I gather info just to collect it and because I’ve learned that the more info I pile up in one place the more I can learn from it.
I probably follow a more diverse and larger selection of RSS feeds than anyone I know, but I still feel it’s not enough. And that is why I recently added 1,300 more RSS feeds to my Google Reader account.
A couple weeks ago I was reading a Canadian blogger and he happened to get on to the topic of RSS feeds. Joe Clark is somewhat like me in that he uses a feed reader to follow quite a few different blogs. He even availed himself of a tool which let him export the list of blogs he followed. He actually follows over 1,400 blogs, but the list he posted only contains just over 1,300 RSS feeds.
I installed them last night, and now I understand why he doesn’t use Google Reader. After adding Joe’s collection of RSS feeds, I was following (at peak) 2,349 blogs, news sources, and search codes. Google Reader was not happy.
I’ve noticed that once I reached some arbitrarily large number of RSS feeds Google Reader tended to randomly:
- reload the page,
- forget to show RSS feeds with unread posts,
- misplace entire folders of RSS feeds.
I think at one point it may have told me there were 5 lights, but I could be wrong.
I’m now down to only following 2,021 RSS feeds, and I will continue to thin the collection as time goes by. I kinda have to. While stress-testing Google Reader was fun, I need it to work reliably.
But I am very glad I added all those feeds. From that huge mass I have found several dozen blogs which I am thrilled to read and occasionally link to. I even added a few new sources to this morning’s links post, and I have even more ready to add to tomorrow’s post.
This, I think, is half of the reason why I have the best link blog in digital publishing (the other half is knowing what to pick). I am always growing my source list – even beyond any reasonable need.
And that, folks, is how I do extreme reading.
P.S. If anyone know of a tool which will better handle 2k RSS feeds, please let me know.