An attraction of planet-style blog aggregators as your feed reader

February 20, 2009

I've recently realized an attraction of planet-style blog aggregations: by design, they have no way to go back in the feed history. You get one page of entries (however larger that is configured to be), and that's it.

This sounds like a peculiar thing to be an attraction, but it means that compulsive information junkies with not enough spare time have no choice but to let things go. We cannot wind up sitting on several thousand unread feed entries that we are theoretically going to read sometime; there is not even a temptation to not move on. The software just does it for you.

(The one danger to this approach is that planets themselves have syndication feeds, which do capture all that history, assuming that your feed reader updates frequently enough. Avoid that temptation. Really. Read them through the website.)

For a certain sort of compulsive reader this letting go is very hard, so if we are left to our own power we won't. Reading feeds through a planet, with no choice about it, winds up being peculiarly liberating.

(I was sort of trying to do this with reading backwards, but in practice it didn't work out that way.)

I don't think that I'm hardcore enough to rebuild my feed reading as a private planet instance, but having come to this realization, maybe I should remove a number of planet feeds from my feed reader in favour of just looking at their web versions every so often when (or if) I have the spare time. If nothing else, it would remove a little mental burden and nag that's in the back of my mind when I open up my feed reader.

Written on 20 February 2009.
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Last modified: Fri Feb 20 00:06:13 2009
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