I keep telling people to use an RSS reader, but some people have told me they're kind of inscrutable. So... Here's how to use an RSS reader, IMO. For now I'll skip the part about finding sources you're actually interested in, and just focus on how to enjoy it once you have it.
Use folders, but only a few
Folders aren't for topic categories. They're how you accommodate your different moods and attention spans.
This isn't quite how I do it, but I think it's a good way to start:
|Sites that reliably bring you joy||Valuable but sometimes it’s just too much|
|Posts at a normal rate||Chill Zone||Think Zone|
|Posts at hyperspeed||Hyper Jail||News Jail|
Chill Zone is where it's AT. That's what you read every day over breakfast. Webcomics, fashion and art tumblrs that only post a couple times a day, Janelle Shane's machine-assisted nonsense, fandom shitposters with a better-than-usual attitude, whatever. CHILL ZONE IS THE REASON TO USE RSS IN THE FIRST PLACE. You have the power to carve out a pure and good happy place on the internet (the INTERNET of all places!!!), it's fucking incredible.
Think Zone is often full of meatier magazine-length reads, so I like using something like Instapaper on it. I think that (1. deciding what looks interesting enough to be worth a careful read) and (2. reading something carefully) are pretty different acts, and I personally have a better time when I keep them separate.
(How to use Instapaper is a totally different post, but IMO it's fine to leave some stuff you never get around to and just let it sediment to the bottom of the queue as new stuff arrives up top. Reading everything you were briefly interested in isn't your job, right? You can muck out the bottom of the queue every three years or so, or maybe never, it's fine.)
Hyper Jail and News Jail, you shouldn't read in their entirety. Skim through the headlines and pick out what looks interesting, then mark all as read. They're separate buckets to accommodate your moods, even though you read them basically the same way. If Hyper Jail and/or News Jail start mistreating your brain, kill 'em. Or hide 'em. If you feel a compulsion to Be Present In The World, well... maybe news isn't actually that good at that, and you should go outside and talk to someone at the bus stop instead.
I think some of the newer readers have been working on ways to manage the Jails a bit better, with things like coalescing stories from different sources about the same thing into a cluster, or bubbling up the things other people have been paying the most attention to. That's all cool, but even just knowing the Jails are a thing and understanding what to put in there gives you a leg up.
Also, I want to emphasize, it's totally okay to only use the Chill Zone!!! If you don't have time for overposters, high five. But I have a bunch of overposters that occasionally post something I love, and the Jails make it pretty easy to catch enough of the good shit without getting aggravated.
It's not email! heck, not even email is email anymore
MARK ALL AS READ. RSS readers aren't a place for mercy, and they're not a place for unread count anxiety. You're the master of your domain! If you need something back you can always dig for it later.
Share stuff??? IDK????????
Curation is overrated and we'd probably be better off purging that term from our vocabularies entirely, but idk, maybe text your besties when you find the good shit. 💖 A bunch of readers let you flag stories or make "boards," which I like for remembering what to share later.
I realize this might sound a bit complicated,
but IMO that's only because you're underestimating how much concentration and mental gymnastics it takes to read your Twitter feed without going around the bend. This is honestly p. basic compared to what you'd otherwise be doing on your phone, which is why it's good. 👍🏼