How I stopped trying to read everything online

In 2013, when Google Reader was shut down, I migrated my blog subscriptions to Feedly. Although I had been using Google Reader less and less, I wasn’t quite ready to give up on using a feed reader altogether.

1,000 unread items?!

The biggest problem with Google Reader was that if you didn’t check in regularly, you could end up with hundreds of unread items. This quickly became overwhelming, and I remember a lot of blogging friends just didn’t bother checking in.

Feedly takes a different approach. After a period of time, unread items are automatically marked as read. At first I found this really annoying, but I soon realised it helps when trying to keep up with fresh content.

Why read everything?

I’m something of a completist; I like to hear every album by an artist, or watch every episode of a TV series. I used to apply this same mindset to blogs: I didn’t want to miss a thing.

Feedly changed this. With posts automatically being marked as read, I stopped feeling like I had to read everything. That’s maybe not a bad thing. I then realised I could just use social media as my reader.

So, I quit Feedly, and set to work on curating a Twitter list.

Here’s how I read now

I now have a “News” Twitter list with a few news sites. It moves quickly – sometimes I have to remove a site if I can’t keep up. But most of the time, it’s a good source of news – when I have time to read it.

It’s a mixture of regular news and tech news. You can find the list here: @benbarden/News

So far, this list seems to be working well. I’m not trying to read everything; I’m skimming the list and retweeting anything I like. I’ve found myself reading more articles and worrying less about keeping up with everything.

Am I missing out?

With this approach, I guess I may miss something.

But it is a much nicer feeling to read when you’re bored or curious, than to feel you have to keep checking in, to avoid missing out.

How do you read?

I’d be interested to hear how you keep up with your favourite sites, and how you keep up with the news.

  • http://andrewjwalsh.com Andrew Walsh

    I recently started trying a new strategy for consuming news. I subscribe to a few daily news email newsletters and have them all filtered into a special “News” folder in Gmail. (I also include the newsletters of a few of my favorite blogs.) I make it so the folder is not visible unless I click “view more” so I don’t get caught up constantly consuming news every time I check my email. I try to make it a habit to set aside 15-20 minutes 2 or 3 times a day to read news. So far I’ve found the strategy to be effective, but we’ll see if I can keep the habit long-term.

    • http://www.quickblogtips.com/ Ben

      Hi Andrew :) That’s the trouble – sticking to it long-term. Actually, it doesn’t matter too much if you do. If it works for a few months, great; if you then find a different strategy that you prefer, no problem. I get bored when things stay the same, so I’m often trying new approaches :)