How I Live and Breathe Google Reader

I spend my entire day in Google Reader and Twitter to get tech news. I am sharing my Reader experience here so that I may learn from any tips you might have or the other way around.

Feed Organization

Tip: Prioritize your feeds in folders.

This is typically how my Reader looks when I start my day in the morning:Reader Shared Items

  • Me is my own posts and my tweets faved by others
  • BuzzShares are people I follow on Buzz (about 65 at present)
  • GoodShares are a group of about a dozen people
  • LG-RobDiana are shares by Louis Gray and Rob Diana
  • Google is for Google’s official updates
  • Tech has about 50-55 feeds mostly from individual tech blogs
  • MajorTech are the big tech blogs like TechCrunch, RWW, and GigaOM.

The sequence of folders is arranged by priority from bottom-up. Thus, depending on the time I can spend at any moment, I travel my way up in this hierarchy.

Tip: By adding a person’s shared items to a folder in Reader, you can unfollow the person in Buzz if you wish, while continuing to see their Reader shares.

My Stats (Trends)

Here are my key stats for the past month:

Reader Trends Main

Thus, I am sharing about 160 items/week, or about 20-22 items/day.

Reader Trends Graph

My ‘items read’ count might probably look different than other heavy Reader users. This is because of Techmeme as well as Twitter. About 80% of the time, I’ve already read and am aware of the news that arrives in Google Reader, or is a duplicate of an item I’ve read.

Subscription Stats

The following stats are interesting:

Reader Shared Items Per Day

You can see that some folks, including myself, share on Reader at a rate comparable to the number of posts by major tech blogs.

Disconnecting Reader from Buzz

I have disconnected my Reader shares on Buzz. I will wait till Buzz provides better filtering options. In my experience, it is easier for me to follow other’s Reader shares in Reader, than in Buzz in terms of efficiently finding tech news.

Buzz is a better place to have conversations and engagement on one’s Reader items. But what’s ‘engagement’ for one, can often be ‘noise’ for another. Without better filters, this engagement is simply force-fed noise on Buzz.

Going Forward

Because curation and sharing is primarily my work at Techmeme, I am increasingly focusing on sharing other stuff on Reader and omitting major news items in my Reader shares. This falls into several different categories – social media, how-to, personal, opinion, media, lifestreaming, etc. – stuff that doesn’t typically appear on Techmeme. If you are interested, do follow me on Reader.

I appreciate and value the shares of people I follow in Google Reader. Thank you for making it such an enriching place!

Please do share your tips, if any.

This entry was posted in RSS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Great to see you scratch that blog post itch and especially a personal post about Reader! On a personal note having you on Reader is great, you curate all the finer content which we miss sometimes, and i appreciate your eye for quality.

    I am a fan of keyboard shortcuts in Reader, especially to get more viewing area. I.E. Press f-11 for for full screen and then 1 for expanded view. For me this makes it's easy to cycle through the items effortlessly!

  • Thanks, Addy! 🙂

    Thanks for that F11 viewing tip, that's useful when I sometimes use my laptop. Otherwise, on my 1920×1200 widescreen, I find the widescreen script more handy:

  • Very cool, me and Louis Gray share a folder. I will agree with the Buzz filtering problem as well.

  • This is just another way of saying “Thank You!” for your shares, Rob.

  • You are so right Google rock, kick ass and every ofter great description you can think of

  • I've organized my subscriptions based upon categories of topics, but I haven't done much with grouping people. I find that function a bit tedious, but should allow commenting more.

    Buzz – I have likely too much hooked up and not making the best use of it yet. I am waiting on it to be as dynamic as Friendfeed before committing to more use.

  • Pingback: The End of the Rainbow for Social Media, Spectacle or Solution? » Victus Spiritus()

  • Courtney, thanks. I've found my Reader experience improved a lot after I organized 'People I follow' into folders.

  • Reader is outstanding when it comes to scanning huge volumes of posts. The mistake I most make is thinking the person sharing is the author – the old speed reading lets me down.

    Another good shortcut: if you hit the 'u' key then it gets rid of the left-hand subscription information to make the screen viewing area bigger. This means you can see a few more words in list view that can make a different whether or not it's worth reading the whole item.

  • Thanks, Dave. That's a useful tip!

  • Thanks Mahendra. That was very useful for us. I am curious if you were heavily using Friendfeed at all, (atleast before the acquisition). How do you compare the signal-to-noise ratio and 'first timeness' of your feeds through Friendfeed versus Reader?

    Of course, you consume deeply and richly than most typical users. But, just curious if you had data .

  • Vasu, thanks. Yes, I was a heavy user of FriendFeed. The S/N ratio was lesser than Reader, because I was following some non-tech folks to truly engage with the FF community. Both FF and Reader have the problem of duplicate shares.

    As far as speed goes, when I was using FF, it was *way* faster than Reader. Now with PubSubHubbub, both are almost equal in terms of speed, but the pubsubhubbub rollout in Reader isn't yet global, which makes my Reader slower than FF at present.

    Considering your question from a larger perspective, FF/Buzz are communities which suck you into conversation. Whether that is signal or noise depends on your needs.

  • Very good to see Reader is still “en vogue”. I have read lately that twitter is becoming a lot of people's method of news consumption. I am still not sure how that happens.

    Also, in twitter I have adopted a similar approach – create lists for similar groups (Major Tech, Breaking News, etc.) and unfollow them so that my main feed noise reduces.

  • Romit,

    Precisely – I use folders in Google Reader in a way analogous to Twitter Lists. 🙂

  • marfi

    I really love user testimonials like this one. It helps build better products! Have you by any chance tried the reader we develop at, we have added filters and shareable bundles to it in order to enrich the experience and make sharing and filtering info easier and faster, see more at:, I will be happy to see what your sceptic opinion will be!

  • Pingback: Skeptic Geek: Now on Facebook! by @ScepticGeek()

  • Pingback: Google Reader+ And Identities vs. Personas by @ScepticGeek()