Use a Backup Feed Reader for More Conscious Browsing

I know, I know. Most of us are sick of hearing about feed readers since the Readerpocalypse. Cut through the fluff, though (this reader is best! this company is making a reader! this reader will change your life!), and you'll find that the resurgence of RSS has sparked some interesting thoughts on the technology, and the open web at large.

It's also been a catalyst for many to rethink their own feed reading habits, including me. I'm a minimalist at heart, so I regularly prune my feeds, and am always conscious of how much time I spend reading essential v. non-essential stuff in my reader.

Today's suggestion is simple: use a backup feed reader for extraneous stuff.

Before Google Reader died, most feed readers synced with it, so this method wasn't entirely possible (or, at least, didn't come to mind so readily, since we just synced everything with Reader), but with the rise of the New Readers who use their own backend, new possibilities arise, and we can use different readers for different purposes.

I use Feedly to read the essentials. It's simple, has its own backend, works on all my devices, and integrates well into the services I use to share and bookmark stuff. Sometimes Feedly gets cluttered, though: I add stuff that might be interesting, only to realize a month later that, pressed for time, I'm navigating right past most of the entries in a particular feed. So I delete them.

It constantly happens, though, that I want to see that feed later. Usually, I end up going to the site, but I'm always loathe to do so. RSS has spoiled us; it's the equivalent of the remote control. Once you use a remote for awhile, you're pretty displeased when you lose it and are required to get off of the couch, walk to the TV, and change the channel. Same goes with RSS: I'm so used to bringing the web to me via RSS, I get irked when I have to browse individual websites.

So I started using Digg Reader as my backup reader. Essential feeds go into Feedly, interesting but not-quite-so-essential stuff goes into Digg. Now, I don't spend too much time in my Reader, but neither do I have to go looking for the web when I want to browse it; I just go to the backup.

Yes, it's a very small change in my habits, but it's one that's made a very big difference. Need a suggestion for a non-essential but delightful feed? Try Design Taxi.

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