After only four days without Internet access, I am considering declaring RSS Bankruptcy. There are just too many RSS feed items in my Google Reader account, and I can’t keep up.
By now, most people have heard of e-mail bankruptcy: the act of starting over by deleting most (if not all) of the e-mail messages in your in-box and requesting that people resend messages if they are really important. It’s becoming pretty popular. Maybe the next version of Microsoft Outlook should have an e-mail bankruptcy button. Here’s an article about how venture capitalist Fred Wilson declared e-mail bankruptcy last month. His message was, “I am so far behind on e-mail that I am declaring bankruptcy,” he wrote. “If you’ve sent me an e-mail (and you aren’t my wife, partner, or colleague), you might want to send it again. I am starting over.”
I sympathize with Wilson. I know that I’ll spend most of the day playing the “e-mail catch-up game” when I return to the office after vacation. It’s stressful. But I feel an almost equivalent level of stress when I see that I have several thousand unread RSS items in my Google Reader account. There are close to a thousand items in my KM folder alone. Part of me wants to at least skim the items, but the other part wants to simply pretend they never existed. This is nothing new, really. I wrote about it last year in RSS Overload is the New Black. So, I should have seen it coming.
For now, I’m not ready for RSS bankruptcy. I’m just going to allow the items to accumulate, read some at my leisure, and really do nothing. (I know, it’s all very Zen.) If I miss something, it’s OK. I’m sure someone will re-blog it and I’ll see it eventually. Or maybe I’ll see it on Twitter, or maybe in my FriendFeed wrap-up email. Or maybe I should follow Tim Ferriss’ lead and outsource my RSS reading, the way he outsources his e-mail. Or maybe… it just doesn’t matter.
How do you deal with RSS overload?
Update: One thing that will help is Google’s new Google Reader application for the iPhone, which is still in beta. Read about it on Lifehacker. The previous version was pretty good, but it was clearly a “light” version of the full web-based RSS reader. The new version more accurately resembles the full version. Very handy.
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