February 08, 2005

There are Feeds and Then There are Feeds

For the past three years, I've used a news aggregator. In the beginning, I had only a few feeds of the more read blogs, some intellectual property blogs because my first blog was on that topic, and at some point early on, the NY Times and the BBC started using RSS and I added those feeds too. At some point, I switched RSS aggregators, to get better features, and found it was easier to add feeds. So I added every blog I read. I would read the aggregator a couple of times a day, looking at posts written by friends, people who blog about expertise they have in a field and filter that field for me, and others with interesting content.

And about a year ago, I started adding Technorati watchlists, as well as Feedster and Pubsub search feeds, and del.icio.us, Furl and flickr feeds on tags, and looking up terms on Blogpulse and Bloglines, to see who linked to my blog, wrote about key words I cared about or were on a topic, project or company I was tracking. Sometime last summer, I realized that more than half my 300+ feeds were search feeds -- key words, URLs and in some cases other focusing information like say, the middle 50% of bloggers based upon inbound links. I would put these search criteria into any one of these services, on myself and my blogs, topics and people I'm interested in, companies and institutions I work for, and that I most often went to read those first. If I were working on something, I'd read the 20 or so search feeds that matter, maybe one or two bloggers that matter... and later go back and read the rest of my RSS feeds for more general use.

Then, after a while, I started reading all the search feeds first, and a few blogger's feeds, but the rest of the single blog feeds have become less important. Often, I see those blogger's (whose single feeds I subcribe to) posts in my search feeds, because they do blog on those topics I care about, though not all their posts are on those topics fit those search criteria. With a finite amount of time, increasingly defined information needs, and a desire to raise the signal to noise ratio, I rely more heavily on the search feeds, than other traditional RSS feeds that send me a single blog's or legacy news feed.

So will search feeds have ads? And will that mean that key word search terms might be sold to advertisers in order to match ads within these search-RSS-feeds, in the same way key words on are sold by traditional search services?

Posted by Mary Hodder at February 8, 2005 05:50 PM | TrackBack

The last sentence nearly did my head in - any chance of re-phrasing it?

Your RSS feed-reading pattern is similar to mine now - ie more and more topic/tag feeds. And not meaning to self-promote (much), but I've written on this very topic recently:

Posted by: Richard MacManus at February 8, 2005 07:23 PM

My problem with search feeds is that I write about strategic issues in telecom, and am not very interested in the minor details. So if I search for "VoIP" I get too much. "Disintermediate" gets some interesting eclectica. Often the ideas I and other are writing about haven't yet generated their own vocabulary. But then again, if it was easy to find everything yourself, there would be no living to be made finding it on behalf of consulting clients.

Posted by: Martin Geddes at February 11, 2005 08:00 AM

Mary, this entry really got me thinking. Since I've read it I've been playing around with search feeds, and wow, it does make a big difference. Cool!

Posted by: Lisa Williams at February 14, 2005 08:20 PM