River of news

Give a meme a name and it just might take off. By way of Jon Udell, I discovered that Dave Winer has given a name to my preferred feed reading technique: river of news. The basic idea is this. If you’re going to look at a bunch of little text items like RSS feed snippets, you can go visit them one by one, or you can glue them all together and scan through the whole thing at one go. If you like the one by one approach, your favorite interface will probably be a three-paned affair like a typical newsreader. I hate this. I want to read something that feels like a newspaper column. The first feed aggregator I really went for was called Aggie, and it just mashed everything into one giant HTML page. Dirt simple, but it worked like a charm. Aggie is defunct, but not to worry, because the mighty Bloglines picked up where Aggie left off. Bloglines doesn’t make you clicky-click click on everything to read it. And now I have a name for it.

2 thoughts on “River of news”

  1. LiveJournal is the only RSS aggregator I use–I used to try others, but I gave up. In LJ, I can set up multiple “friends groups”, each containing multiple feeds. When I view a particular group, all of the items from all of the fields are mixed together, in roughly chronological order. (It’s actually the order they were picked up by LJ’s RSS fetcher.)

    This is exactly what I want, for example, in politics, because it makes it easy to watch a story spread. With other aggregators, if I picked the wrong blog to read first, I’d always be missing context from the other blogs that I needed to understand the first one, and then later I’d get to the posts that started things off and they’d be redundant by then.

    Anyway, this is what I thought “river of news” meant, but it looks like Bloglines still segregates the feeds from each other, it just puts them all in one page. So I guess I’ll keep using LiveJournal. It’s not so bad.

    (And, hi, I’m a friend of Ghostweather. Just passing through.)

  2. True, Bloglines does not completely mingle things at the article level. Does LiveJournal let you mix in other external feeds?

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