Rising above the mess of RSS

(Note: I read about this method of organization on a blog someone tweeted out several months ago, and have only recently begun to try it out.  If this story sounds familiar to anyone reading, and you have a source site where you read about it before, please share it in the comments, as I truly want to give credit where credit is due.  Thanks!)

A few months ago, I started using RSS feeds (aggregated through Google Reader) to subscribe to blogs and news feeds that I want to know about on a frequent basis.  Prior to that time, I relied on my twitter PLN to tweet out interesting posts (which I still do, though it has its limitations).  That method of relying on tweets left a lot to chance- if I happened to catch the right spot in the stream, I received all sorts of ‘goodies.’  At this point in time, however, as one colleague put it the other day, “I need information to seek out and find me, not the other way around.”  Hence the RSS subscriptions.

My path in navigating this data stream has been similar to many others, I’m sure- after finding myself reading certain blogs on a frequent basis, I would decide to subscribe via RSS.  Once I got up to a dozen sites or so, I would feel the urge to organize those subscriptions, and started by putting blogs together based on similar content (e.g. EdTech, SBAR, Leadership, Music, Sports, etc).  While it ‘cleaned up’ my reader feed, those folders ultimately did not help me to read through the mass of information- I simply found folders full of dozens of unread posts.  As the numbers of unread blogs continued to increase, I tended to put off trying to read them.  (Human psychology at its best, right?)  I needed a new way.

Thankfully, I ran across a blog post that has changed my RSS life.  The author’s advice?  Don’t organize your feeds by their content, organize them by the day of the week you will read them.

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Suddenly, I have been able to get over the information paralysis.  When I logged on to Google Reader this morning, I didn’t feel the need to read every post- only the ones in the Friday folder.  I no longer ask myself, “What am I interested in reading?” as it’s a given that I am interested in all of it.  (After all, I was the one who willfully chose to subscribe to these feeds in the first place.)  Instead, I now ask the question, “What day is it?”  This question is much easier to answer (most of the time).  So long as I am comfortable not having seen these posts at the nanosecond of their publication (which, in all honesty, is not a concern for me), I now have a method of keeping up with the posts.  What’s great is, I do still use some level of content organization on the daily feeds…now, I just happen to read them all, too!

In honor of 4/8’s #followfriday, I’ll list a few of the blogs in my “Days of the Week” folders here (along with Twitter contact info, in case you’re interested in following these brilliant folks as well).  Happy reading!

Sunday PM: Ed Leadership – Starting tomorrow’s work today

Monday: A Mix of Perspectives Around Teaching & Learning

Tuesday: Tech Tuesday!

Wednesday: Book Learnin’ & Leadin’
Thursday: From the STEM & SBAR Classroom
Friday: Instructional Coaching (Looking for more…suggestions?)
Saturday AM: The Sports Blogroll – Golf tips & Fantasy Sports info

Saturday PM: The Music Blogroll – Pitchfork Media, SPIN, & all things Radiohead

Sunday AM: A place for politics – Factcheck.org, Politifact.com, local OpEds 

If you have any suggestions of feeds to follow related to these topics, please share them in the comments sections.  Also, mad props to anyone who can share with me other places where they have seen this idea…I really want to track down the impetus for this process and give credit where it is most certainly due.

Finally, thanks to all of you teachers, authors, bloggers and tweeters mentioned above.  By making your thoughts & practice public, you help me to learn and grow as a leader, as an educator, and most importantly as a human walking his path.

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Editor’s Note @ 6:14pm: Since posting this message earlier today, I have made some great connections w/new blogs: Lyn Hilt’s The Principal’s Posts, Connected Principals, TEDucation, Engaging Educators, The Nerdy Teacher, and Full-On Learning, among others.  Thanks everyone for sharing the feeds you love to read & write!
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2 thoughts on “Rising above the mess of RSS

  1. I am really humbled, Tony. I do not feel I am a blogger – as I said in a previous post, it is not THE writing I enjoy (hence my personal blog, filled with white poetry…). I like your idea but I don’t think I would be able to be THAT organized – content and chronology (head in the clouds most of the time here). My RSS feeds are organized rather by content – Education, Ed. tech, Leadership, Remarkable Thinkers, Creativity etc. and I read them …well, whenever I can. No schedule.You also asked for suggestions. I highly recommend Zoe Elder’s 2 blogs: http://teducation.posterous.com/ (all TED talks related to education and excellent thinking by Zoe)http://www.fullonlearning.com/ Happy Friday 🙂

  2. Thanks for the comment, Cristina. I have really enjoyed reading about your "wonderings," especially the last one related to the effects of open & closed questions. In our instructional coaching role, this is a topic we discuss often- I think your post will definitely give us some added clarity on the power of certain kinds of questions to open up reflection.Also, appreciate the recommendations- I’ve added Zoe’s blogs into the reader, and look forward to reading them soon. Happy Friday right back!

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