RSS is a dangerous drug

I didn't understand the point of RSS until I started using a feed reader about six months ago. Then I saw what I'd been missing. It automates something I did not realize I spent effort on: keeping track of what I haven't read yet. Doing that by hand - visiting sites periodically, having lots of tabs open, trying to remember what I haven't looked at recently - is time-consuming and unreliable. So it's a perfect candidate for automation. Handing it over to a machine means I don't forget to check a site, or lose track of something when I get distracted and don't finish reading. It means I can be confident I won't miss anything. It means I can read even more blogs!

Sometimes this is not a good thing. I often feel compelled to read every post of every feed I subscribe to, and I have to remind myself otherwise. And I'm always tempted to subscribe to anything that looks remotely interesting. But if I subscribe to more feeds than I can handle, or don't read them for a while, the unread posts pile up. I haven't checked my feeds for the last week, and I now have 528 items to read. For a compulsive reader like me, an ever-growing list of interesting things to read is dangerously addictive. Fun, yes. But tyrannical.

OK, it's down to 348 now. But this feels like work!

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