In yesteryear, many of us used RSS aggregators that were installed on our computers. These would suck in content from various RSS feeds around the web and display the contents. The advent of tools like Bloglines, and eventually, GoogleReader changed all that, making PC-based RSS aggregators an anachronism.

Well, not quite. As I was revisiting my Google Reader–weeding out old, irrelevant stuff, more on that later–I decided I just didn’t want to have to mess with 2-3 clicks to unsubscribe then delete the tag (folder). Why not import everything from Google Reader into RSSOwl, a free open source RSS aggregator, and use that instead?

RSSOwl is a free and powerful news feed reader. RSSOwl lets you gather, organize and search news in a convenient, easy to use interface with endless flexibility. It works with Linux, Windows, and Mac operating systems. Download it

Here’s what I want:
  1. Trim down subscribed RSS feeds. GR allows me to do that but I think RSSOwl makes that process of getting rid of stuff easier. 
  2. Once I’m done, sync the changes back to GR from RSSOwl so that my relevant feeds are displayed.
Notice that RSSOwl allows you to pull in your RSS feeds from GoogleReader simply by logging in (as shown in the image at the top of this blog post), and then, begins to populate the content, as shown below:
I can delete multiple RSS feeds at once, as well as remove them based on frequency of updates, etc. as shown below:
After selecting criteria above (I selected more options than the default ones shown above), I get a screen like this one:
Some of the benefits of using RSSOwl as opposed to GoogleReader:
  1. I feel like I’m in control of my RSS feed again and I’ve cleaned out a lot of deadwood (old blogs that no one was updating)
  2. I’m already finding blog entries that had completely slipped by me and that helps me “see patterns” in blog entries…and those patterns kickstart blog entries I write.
  3. Well, those two are enough to get me writing.
I’ll be re-sorting blog entries into some general categories, such as:
  1. eLearning and Moodle – This is self-explanatory, isn’t it?
  2. Learning – There’s a trend towards focusing on learning, whether as professionals or in K-12. I’m going to see if blogs will “fall” into this bucket or not.
  3. Leadership and Administration
  4. iPads – There’s a lot going on in regards to iPads. I have been curating content but most of that is located in Evernote. I’m going to try and capture RSS feeds again to see what patterns develop.
  5. TechNews (includes free, open source)
I probably should narrow my focus even further, and focus on stuff I don’t know enough about. For example, I love reading about networks, content filtering, and encryption but I don’t subscribe to enough sources of content for that.
Some things I got rid of:
  • Google Alerts for this blog address. After all, why bother? All that happens via Twitter now.
  • Google Alerts.
  • Twitter favorites RSS feed…all my Twitter favorites are routed to my Tumblr blog, which is my catch-all place for content.
  • blogs that were just place-holders for podcasts. I don’t listen to them via my blog or RSS feed.
  • Other buckets or labels.
  • RSS dumpsters…you know, those bloggers that dump tons of content aggregated from everywhere and anywhere. In the old days, they were great because they exposed you to tons of content from places you couldn’t imagine. Now, well, they’re just noise. Two big ones come to mind.
  • My subscription to Around the Corner (this blog). After all, I know what content I’m pulling in. I forget why I did it.
The end result?
Update: Please note that I have been unsuccessful in reimporting my updated feeds (OPML file) into GoogleReader. So, you may want to re-organize in GoogleReader–if you wish to keep it–before synching in RSSOwl.

How have you decided to handle RSS feeds?

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure