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Monday, June 02, 2008

Google Reader & What I Should be Reading

"Web as a Social platform" You've all heard it, might have even seen it in action.

I realized the power of a social web when I was thinking about my blog reading habits. There was a time when I'd painfully populate my Google Reader's subscriptions. Depending on how ambitious or slacking I was, it'd either drown my reading-list with hundreds of blog posts, a bit too many to handle, or drought it with scanty ones so I'd have to look out for news websites in askance for more. I could never figure out the right set of feeds to subscribe to - the same feed that'd report something as interesting as an iphone launch would sometimes also report something as worthless as Amitabh Bachhan being down with flu. How did this problem get solved? Enter the social web.

What I did was simple. Discounting the bare minimal set of blog feeds that I did have to subscribe myself to keep my Krebs cycle working (say, Slashdot), I left all the others for the people in my friends list to read and share. I began with reading stuff that ALL my friends would share and then cut it down to hide the ones that felt like abusing the 'share' feature. Now I'm down to a much smaller list of friends whose shared blogs I read. The most awesome part now is that what I read has already been screened once by someone whose judgement I tend to agree with. The end result: I'm pretty happy with my reading list these days. I realize that I hardly ever miss something I'd really want to read about and at the same time, I don't get swamped with excess of them either.

It's intimidating how easily a seemingly tough problem of "figuring out what I want to read" could be made more tractable by a social web, even though I myself did not have a clear judgement of what I really wanted.
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