I’ve been using the Outlook version of Newsgator for a long time to aggregate the feeds that I care about. The problem is that the number of feeds that I care about continues to grow and grow, mainly because I will see a post or two of interest from someone on a topic I am focusing on, so I subscribe. Then after a while I discover that it was only a brief foray for that person into that area of interest and they become a stale subscription that I don’t really pay that much attention to and eventually need to purge from my subscriptions.
So I was checking out some of the additional features that Newsgator online supports now through their business subscriptions, and decided to give them a try.
Smart Feeds Rock. I can create a subscription on a keyword (or keywords) or URL, and anytime someone out there in blog/chat/forum land uses that keyword, boing I get a post in my feed. Now I can set up smart feeds like one for ClickOnce or one for Indigo service, or Window Forms Data Binding 2.0, and keep track of everything people are saying about a technology. And yes, I must admit I set up an ego feed on my name to see what all you sneaky bastards are saying about mebehind my back out there.
You do have to be a little smart about the keywords you pick. I started out with Indigo instead of Indigo service, and I got mostly stuff about the Indigo girls, art. etc. Add service to the keyword (it does an OR of the keywords unless you put them in quotes to get an exact phrase) and the noise went way down. There is still some noise, but much easier to filter through that noise than what hundreds of people may be posting on their individual blog at any given moment.
I still have my feeds to individuals who I like to follow, but I will be much less likely now to subscribe someone just because I found them talking about my technologies of interest. They will now have to break into my smart feeds repeatedly before I bother.
Depending on which subscription level you choose, you also get premium feeds, Mobile and Email editions, and varying numbers of feeds. I haven’t fully started taking advantage of these yet, but probably will when I can find time to figure out how to employ them to add value and not just saturate me with more information that I don’t have bandwidth to consume.