I've been using Snarfer for a while now, preferring an offline reader so that I use a few spare moments to catch up on reading without having to plug in the air card. It works well enough, but lately I've been wanting something better, really driven by one idea - Snarfer doesn't encourage me to post comments. Comments are the feedback all blogger's love, me as much as the next person. I don't need - or want - to comment on every post I read, but I comment on maybe 1 in 50, and that is too low. In Snarfer I have to click the link to see the original article, scroll down, sometimes click another link for comments, and finally write something. Not that hard, but that minor road block inhibits rather than encourages me to comment.
I've been starting to look, and at the same time I ran across this post by Dare Obasanjo (interesting blog too) about RSS readers being modeled after email clients being broken,which was a follow up to a Slate article called Kill Your RSS Reader. Not sure they have the answer, or an answer that fits me, but there is something missing. I follow about 200 SQL blogs plus another 30-40 on various topics. I don't read all of them every day. Some I read every post, some I scan the titles and only read what looks good. Definitely at times it's information overload. I don't have an easy way to mark something directly for follow up except to email myself the link or copy/paste it into a task.
I can see there being three categories for me:
- Blogs I want to read every post, even if I fall behind (easy to identify)
- Blogs that I want to treat more like a newspaper, I read it that day or it goes away (easy to identify)
- Blogs that split the difference (hard!)
Features I think I want:
- I like not waiting on pages to load. Building them as a PDF and emailing them to me could be interesting (in aggregate I mean)
- I need it to be very easy to comment, and to manage my subscriptions to comments (the latter doesn't seem to have an established standard?)
- I'd like it to scan for links to blogs that aren't on my list and hold them for review along with why/where it came up
- Would be useful to know which ones I'm connected with (LinkedIn, Outlook, all the others)
- How often I've read something on a blog, could be used to prioritize my reading later
- Ability to write rules ala Outlook
- Have it learn what I like and at least prioritize that for reading first
- One click access to add it to my task list (even if that's in the software and not external)
I'm not much interested in sharing blog lists as far as a social feature, but definitely ok with sharing or finding with blog posts. Seems like so far the emphasis is on just managing the feeds and making them visible, not doing something more with them. Or maybe I'm either using the wrong tool, or the wrong viewpoint. Would I be better off with a handful of Google alerts?