No that’s not my ‘ideal’ way of reading, although it is a representation of the core concept that made blogs blogs, the reverse chronological order. Ideally I’d have ‘heat maps’ of activity in a network visualisation. The way you can spot on a public square where people are most engaged. Or other visualisations along those lines.

For that reason I mostly leave the compilation of all feeds in my reader alone. What I do is I check in a folder which blogs have posted (in the earlier screenshots you see the author’s name and then a number, which is the number of unread posts). I click on the individual feeds I am curious about. Then I start working my way from the ‘closest’ folder to the ‘furthest’ in terms of social distance.

For the start of actual reading, within a single blog’s feed, I am fine with the reverse chronological order, as most recent is an aspect of how I filter. Yet, it usually leads to reading on the source blog and then following links etc deeper into a site. I do need full post feeds though, I can’t stomach just having excerpts or not even that, which require me to click through just to see if it is worth a read. I use an offline reader on purpose.

I have noticed that the news-feed type stream of posts of all feeds together carries echoes of the allergy I built up for my endless FB and Twitter streams.

Replied to Feed Reading By Social Distance (Kicks Condor)

I think the one area where I am not sure is still having to deal with a ‘news feed’-type stream of posts in each of those folders—is that your ideal way of reading?

2 reactions on “

  1. Ok, thank you—I am with you on this as well. It sounds like we might be in
    agreement that there is much innovation to do in the spectrum of ‘feeds’/‘filters’.
    I think I also agree that needing access to the full post contents is
    useful—otherwise we end up with titles dominating and our filter weighs toward
    attractive headlines.
    Re: ‘heat maps’—I’m reluctant to give any thought to the popularity of a
    writing. Yet, there’s no
    doubt that it’s important. If people are congregating, it’s worth knowing what
    the fuss is about. (I found your wonderful essay through Indienews—and this is
    a case where checking there has made it all worth it.) But I don’t want the
    zeitgeist jerking me around all day—think of it as a literal “ghost of The
    Now” pushing me around—I just want to peek at it usually and then move on to
    reading those things that are being overlooked.
    I’m not saying you are wrong to prize that higher for yourself—I think
    perhaps the most innovative thing that can be done is to
    provide a variety of views on this filter—maybe RSS readers have just been too
    narrow by making themselves simple ‘inbox’ clones. We are trying to wrangle a
    lot of data here; we might need something quite configurable to do this task.
    (Which is contrary to my own reader—which I have been designing to be
    extremely naive.)
    This is getting away from the juiciest part of your article, though: that there
    are serious human skills to build up. Reading and filtering. (I like your tag:
    ‘infostrats’.) But your mention of ‘heat maps’, for instance, reveals that our
    tools can improve with respect to enhancing our ‘infostrats’. Thank you for the
    further thoughts, Ton!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.