I mentioned last Monday that I was taking about a week off from my aggregator. By the weekend I had about 1400 unread items, and I finally caught up last night. There were a few feeds that I marked as read, but most feeds I at least skimmed.

What I discovered is that just leaving my aggregator closed for the week is a bad idea. There are several kinds of feeds that I follow. Some of them, I need to keep track of for work. For example, we use wikis for collaboration at work, and following the feeds to see what pages are getting updated is important. It was a bad idea to skip those feeds for the week. There’s also the comment feed for this site. If I don’t follow that feed a lot of comment spam stays around longer than necessary.

Then there’s another category of stuff that it’s helpful to keep up with for professional reasons. Someone had to tell me Rails 1.1 had been released because i wasn’t following the news. Granted I only missed the announcement by like two hours, but still.

Finally, there are feeds that I read strictly for pleasure, or rather because I’m interested in the topics discussed even if they’re not necessarily relevant to my day to day life. You can put all of the political weblogs in that category.

Fortunately, NetNewsWire supports setting specific update schedules on a per-feed or per-folder basis. I’m going to juggle things around so that I have some feeds that are updated hourly, some that are updated once or twice a day, and others that are updated only when I do a manual refresh. Right now I sort of have things organized topically, but I think that organizing by refresh schedule will do a much better job of letting me take control of how much time I spend following feeds. We’ll see how it works out.

Update: the downside of reorganizing your feeds in NetNewsWire is that the interface for moving feeds from one folder to another is truly horrible. It’s basic drag and drop but the way the interface behaves makes it painful when you have a lot of feeds. In general, I find that dragging and dropping items around within a list to be awful when the list is longer than the window.