How to categorize RSS feeds for best experience

RSS feeds is one of areas (as is Twitter) where I stick to the read-or-unsubscribe rule. Since I did a lot of my early subscribing in Opera (well, I discovered whole feeds concept in it) simple list of feed did fit the concept. At start. When number of channels hit two hundreds (critical mass for me to this day) it became not too readable.

I had since moved on to FeedDemon and Google Reader combo and discovered that with some basic tools (folders) feeds can and should be split into more readable chunks.

Split by content

Unless you only follow tiny single topic, your feeds are likely about different things. Grouping feeds by topic has natural advantages:

  • priority – you know what topics interest you more (I am likely to hit tech comics first);
  • coherence – it is easier to read items in specific context, rather than in soup of everything;
  • filtering – block of feeds on same topic is easier to filter in or out.

Split by form

Aside from content there is also distinct difference in how much information and in what form feeds carry. Grouping by form allows to keep consistent pace of reading.

  • full feeds are easier to browse item by item;
  • excerpt feeds are easy to view in bulk pages;
  • for some feeds (software updates for example) list of titles alone can be enough.


Two approaches might seem to have nothing in common. But secret sauce here is using them together. Feeds on same topic may naturally gravitate to some form. Just as not too close topics can be easily joined under same format.

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