Ok, that title is a pretty poor attempt of comparing shared RSS Feeds to fast food, but it does bare some truth if we follow through a little bit. Starting with Google Reader’s Share feature, people were able to share content of their choosing with anyone who wanted to visit their Shared Items site. Here’s mine if your curious what the resulting pre-fabricated link blog looks like.
The really interesting twist to this Google Reader feature, is the RSS feed that goes with it. A custom feed made up of select posts from possibly dozens or hundreds of sources, aggregated by your favorite person or blogger. This opened up a huge potential for pre-selected, filtered, quality feeds that mirror the genre of the blogger of your choice.
Now there are a couple of shared feed aggregators, kind of like Techmeme, that allow you to add your shared feed to the list. My favorite at the moment is ReadBurner, which recently added a stats page. Another tool is SharedReader, which, unfortunately, looks to be down as of this writing. Tools like these rank posts from individual shared feeds by popularity. Now I can compare what is on Techmeme, or Tailrank, or Newsvine with what is being shared by everyday people via Google Reader and choose what’s important to me. It also allows me to see who is sharing these posts, and be able to gauge how relevant they are to my interests.
I guess the point I’m trying to get around to is the availability of pre-filtered feeds, that a busy person can simply read instead of hunting for. We don’t have to sort through the duplicate posts from 15 news sources, or non-relevant posts that distract us from the task at hand. You can find shared feeds from people you trust, and know that they’ve done the sorting for you, so you can save time.
Along with this, however, is the fact that someone else is suggesting your reading list. Just like fast food, it’s not always 100% of what you want (heck does it even come close to 75% of what you want?) but it fills the void. Fast food saves time, but doesn’t necessarily taste that great – or is it that good for you. The same can be said of shared feeds. Don’t get me wrong, I follow several too.
While I think shared feeds are a great way of saving time, using some aggregation tools that rank these shared feeds into more relevant lists help you find the content that you may be looking for. Some bloggers are even being very diligent to share only the most interesting, relevant posts that aren’t likely to be found in the “mass media” of technology, political, or social meme aggregators.
Still, there is nothing like keeping track of your favorite bloggers and sorting through your own feed list. It takes more time, but it’s a better way to connect with your favorite writers, and take more in context from each blog. At least that’s the way I look at it. 🙂
Tips? Suggestions? Other meme aggregators? Suggested feeds? Think I’m off base on this? Share ’em all below in the comments.