Are You Reading My Reader Shares?

If you follow me on FriendFeed (or other lifestreaming services), you will know I am an avid user of Google Reader. Reader is one of those applications that you do not know if someone is using the information you share without a little additional work. Thankfully, a few people have mentioned my feed and I have seen several people commenting on my shares on FriendFeed. If you are not using Google Reader, I highly recommend it. It is a very good RSS reader, and the ease of sharing items with other users is very helpful. So, if you start using it, you can look at my shares at my shared items. If you are not using Google Reader, you can still subscribe to my shared items by pointing your RSS reader at my shared item feed.

I am sure you are wondering why I am talking about my shared Google Reader items. Well, Sarah Perez of and ReadWriteWeb had a nice post a while ago about what items she reads and shares. Somehow, my shared items feed is what she shares most. Many people are revealing what they read and the same theme keeps popping up. People are sharing items that they read on other shared item feeds. Louis Gray has started posting his most read feeds as his Google Reader Leaderboard.

The interesting point is obviously how people find information. If people are reading and sharing a lot of items that are shares from other people, they are probably using people as a filter and as a recommender. Given how much information is published every day, this is very important. Filters and recommendations are the keys to any social information stream. In looking at my sharing habits, 5 of my top 10 share sources are other people’s shared items feed. I believe other RSS readers have this type of sharing functionality, but I do not believe it is as easy or as widely used as it is in Google Reader. This makes it a very powerful tool.

This brings me to a different idea. If you are using Google Reader, feel free to subscribe to my shared item feed. If you are not, you can still subscribe because it is just an xml feed. However, I am sure there are some people that may not want to clutter their RSS reader in this manner. I love the idea, and currently read 13 shared item feeds.

For those people who do not want this information in their RSS reader, I have a proposal. If you feel that you would like to read my shared items outside of your reader, I can put my list of shared items as a blog post every day. Initially, this would just be a post that I create, but eventually I would like to generate the post automatically. Is this something that you are interested in? If so, leave me a comment here or even on FriendFeed.

Whatever you do, just keep reading. There is a lot of good content that we miss every day.

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9 thoughts on “Are You Reading My Reader Shares?

  1. @Mike, thanks for following. Reader shares are a great way to find good content.

    @Joey, good to see an STJer here. I had switched from bloglines earlier this year, and I will never go back.


  2. It is indeed a tough problem to solve. Even with very specific interests, it doesn’t take long to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content being generated.

    Personally I subscribe to friends’ shared feeds and then process them with some local scripts, but Yahoo pipes (on the shared feeds) also does the job rather well. It is therefore possible to cut down your feeds (which are already targeted) even more, to the point where it becomes possible to cover information relevant to you in a very short amount of time.

    I still use reader, but my days of spending 4-6 hours a day filtering content are over!


  3. @Quintis

    I would love for someone to come up with a good solution to the problem. You can do some really interesting things with Yahoo Pipes, but it is definitely for us technical types.


  4. @robdiana

    I agree. Perhaps this is an idealistic fool’s view, but perhaps a large part of the problem is the average online consumer’s severe lack of understanding of the technologies they use. That, of course, is treatable, but sadly, ignorance is not.


  5. Just addressing the question — it’s an interesting one for me. I used to read my GR shared items (GRSI?) with as much enthusiasm as I did my regular subscriptions. Ever since I installed Feedly, though, and it added everyone’s GRSI feed from FriendFeed, I have to say I’ve been inundated.

    My knee-jerk reaction was to ignore my shared items and concentrate on keeping up with my feeds. But your post is a reminder that I need to attend to this ‘overgrown’ part of my social media garden. I need to look more closely at Feedly and see if it has more fine-grained control of friend’s shared items.

    However, before Feedly I definitely read and re-shared a lot of your shared items!


  6. @calinazaret, sorry about the number of shares but it is something I find really useful for technology types. You can always hide them, and I won’t feel bad 🙂

    @J. Phil, My thinking is everything in moderation. I cannot process information that quickly, so hand picked feeds works much better for me. FriendFeed has hiding for filtering, so it works from that perspective. For GReader shares, getting all of my FF subscriptions’ shares would be far too many.


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