On days like this, RSS feeds are less useful

I love RSS. It’s a technology that has allowed me to keep up to date with a range of news topics and, also, to not lose touch with the less frequently updated blogs and websites.

However, sometimes it has its weaknesses. These weaknesses are most prevalent when one topic occupies the main headlines. For example, at the time of an Apple product announcement as my feeds are filled with the same stories repeated over and over with minor differences.

Today Instagram is to blame. I don’t know how many articles I’ve skipped past but really one was enough. I don’t use Instagram and never did, so really one story is enough.

Alternatives?

I’ve dabbled with some of the other content aggregators but none of them have really clicked. There’s Flipboard, Google Currents, Pulse, and Prismatic. Now I haven’t stuck with any one of these products for a long time, but I did not get the feeling that any one of them would really cover my needs.

The problem is that whilst the aggregators cover the issue of seeing the same story hundreds of times, they do not (I believe) cover the fact that I do still want to see every story from certain websites/feeds.

If anyone can suggest a system that allows this sort of functionality, I’m all ears!

Note that the other important factor is that I want to keep the concept of a single, synchronised source. At the moment Google Reader provides that functionality – I read a story on my desktop, later I check my feeds on the tablet or phone and everything is completely in sync – I do not see the same story again.

Possible solution?

One possible solution that does occur to me is that I could remove all the standard tech news feeds from Google Reader. EG The Verge, TechCrunch, GigaOm, Pando Daily etc. Essentially prune my subscribed RSS to something a little more focussed and custom and then use one of the standard aggregators to give me that summary approach and maybe save me flicking through endless repetitions of the same story.. That said, I really would still want a synchronised aggregator, so when I open it on the desktop I get one set of news, and when I open on the phone or tablet I don’t see the same stuff I’ve already read.

Please note that I am subscribed to TechMeme and potentially this could cover the aggregated question whilst retaining the RSS approach – something I’ll have to consider..

I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions in the comments below.

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