RSS as a solution to email overload

A problem with email is that it has evolved to become a catch-all accepting numerous kinds of messages, many of them far removed from its original intent to serve one to one communications. One kind of message that is hiding in our inbox but is not really a part of the real email paradigm is  newsletters and updates from blogs and other websites. It is easy to subscribe to these, so people do; but then they get countless emails that are diluting the “real” messaging content.

The ideal solution to this is moving that newsletter flow away from email and into an RSS newsreader like Feedly or Feedreader. I suspect that too few people are using these tools, which is a pity, because RSS is ideally suited to consuming pushed news, by converting them to pull mode reading. The email inbox  has the disadvantage that users perceive it as needing to be cleaned out regularly – ideally attaining “Inbox Zero” every day. This creates stress and overload. An RSS reader is also like an inbox of news items, but it is used for browsing – you eyeball the latest items and decide which to click and read. No need to clean them all.

This subtle difference in use model makes a huge difference in mental stress. Take my advice: anything that is not personal communications yet is of value to you is best consumed in a newsreader!

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