Thursday, March 22, 2007

Using Google Reader trends to clean up subscriptions

google readerIf you use Google Reader, you are probably familiar with the trends portion of the site that shows you all kinds of data like how many feeds you read, how many items you've read in the last 30 days, etc. -- all interesting stuff and fun to blog about, but not necessarily super-useful.  One interesting portion of the trends that I was playing with today is in the "Subscription trends" portion under the "Inactive" tab.

Interestingly, I had 6 subscriptions that had never been updated since I started using Reader.  Luckily for me, Google put a trashcan icon right next to each feed, making it very easy for me to simply unsubscribe from the feed.

After moving through the subscriptions that had never been updated -- pretty easy to unsubscribe considering that I obviously hadn't been missing the content -- I moved on to the subscriptions that hadn't been updated for months or even, in some cases, a year.  I did some random spot checks on some of the feeds and realized that some of the bloggers had changed the host for their blog or their feed or even just stopped blogging.  Once again, it was pretty easy to unsubscribe from most of the feeds because I obivously had not been missing the content.

What all of this subscription cleanup proved to me was that bloggers really need to think hard about how they manage their subscription options.  I have been pushing all of you that currently subscribe to this blog and those that may subscribe in the future to subscribe using Feedburner.  A big reason that encourage subscriptions via Feedburner is that Feedburner allows me to keep the same feed address regardless of my blog host; once someone is subscribed to my Feedburner feed, it is invisible to the subscriber what I do as a blogger as it relates to hosting because the Feedburner feed exists independently.

Food for thought if you're a blogger.

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