Information Overload

Back before its social subscription features were stripped away, I was a big¬†Google Reader fan. I had hundreds of subscriptions of my own, but the most important reading was done in the “People You Follow” section. I trusted content curation to a few, knowing that I’d get to read the top items from the day, even if I didn’t get through my own subscriptions. This worked wonderfully for a while, but then it was gone.

I’ve been struggling to deal ever since.

The beauty about following people in Reader was the fact that nothing but news and blog articles made it into that stream. You can do something similar by creating Google and Facebook lists, but you’re not going to get straight content. Other things will enter the mix — status updates, photos, etc. — that add noise. It’s not the fault of the social networks, as they were built for sharing lots of different things. But what replaces Reader? What setup gives you the highest amount of awesome content shares with the lowest amount of other stuff?

Please, help me!

Some quick thoughts on Google Reader

I have to say that I’m really liking the new features Google has tossed into Reader.  It’s always been a great RSS reader in my mind but the social features have added a whole new dimension.  On top of sharing (which we’ve had for awhile), we can now follow other users, like items and comment in a way similar to how we’ve done on the lifestream service I will not mention.  It seems like Google is trying to fill a void that hasn’t quite opened yet but could sometime in the future.  Kudos to them.

A few gripes though.  Why is the following/commenting system so borked?  If someone is following me, I want them to be able to comment on my stuff.  End of story.  If we’re following each other then I’d really expect them to be able to comment on my stuff.  But they can’t.  I have to put them into a group in order for them to comment and vice versa.  That just seems odd to me.

Another thing – refresh rate.  Can we get a faster refresh time?  Or how about real-time?  I’ve been spoiled, Google.  I’m sorry.

One more thing – notifications.  I would love to be notified somehow if someone has commented or liked an item I’ve shared.  There’s no easy way to figure this out at the moment – you just scroll, click and pray.  FriendFeed (oops, I mentioned them) puts your liked/commented-on items at the top of your feed.  Facebook pops up a little red alert at the bottom of the screen when someone interacts with your content.  Can we have this Google?  Please?

My wish list aside, I’m liking the attention that Reader is getting lately and plan to start spending a lot more time in it.  I don’t see it as just a feed reader anymore but as social discovery tool.  This was a major draw for FriendFeed and I’m glad that another option is shaping up.

Want to follow me in Google Reader?  Please do.  http://www.google.com/reader/shared/shawnfarner