Thursday, August 20, 2009

Questioning the Best Use of Bundles in Google Reader

Image representing Google Reader as depicted i...Image via CrunchBase
This morning I am struggling with how to use bundles. On Tuesday, I wrote a how-to article on creating bundles in Google Reader. The process, while a little clunky, works but it revealed to me another problem. What should go into those bundles? Should it include only my work or a combination of my own contributions with the shared work of others?

If you look to Google for guidance, you will notice that there are about 449 bundles online. The topics range from news to yoga. Inside each bundle is a collection of web sites and RSS feeds from around the net. Most bundles created by Google hold between 4-10 resources. It does not sound like a lot but when you subscribe, the list of feeds can be overwhelming in number. Additionally, the range of topics coming from those feeds may not always correspond to the topic of the bundle. In very short order, your Google Reader stream may begin to look like a hot mess.

While I enjoy a good resource, I have reservations about allowing feeds an open faucet into my bundle. There should be some control. This leads me to my current situation.

The Two Options

Option One: Damond Nollan Only
The first option for bundles is to include only my feeds. As we learned in Breaking Damond Nollan Apart in Google Reader: Learn to Give Your Readers Exactly What They Want, I can separate my blogs, lifestream, pictures, videos, and audio into topics that automatically redirect into related bundles. Subscribers of option one will only get the stuff I share online.

Option Two: Damond Nollan and the Best of Shared Items
The second option is to include my own feeds, as described in option one, along with favorite finds from around the net. This could include Twitter, Friendfeed, YouTube, and Flickr finds along with my own blogs, images, video, audio, and lifestream.

I can see the benefit of option one being less noise and duplication. Because I subscribe to a number of well known feeds, the likelihood of duplicating someone else's share is great, assuming I share what I read. Whereas my own work is original and far less distributed, which means less noise.

Although, on the other hand, I like shared resources, which is one of the reasons we use applications like Delicious, Friendfeed, and now Google Reader. Our friends and associates filter through large amounts of information and share only the best. I know that many of my friends rely on me to find good stuff and share it with them. So, do you see my dilemma?

The bottom line is that I want to provide good information. There are some users that are only interested in what I do but then there may be others who value my shared finds. What to do? What to do?

Yes, I have thought about creating both a Damond Nollan only and shared bundle for the same topics, but then it seems a little much. I have not made a final decision, but curious to find what others are doing? What do you like/dislike? What would you do differently?

Thanks for any feedback you feel moved to provide. Trust me, I will read every response provided.

Until next time...

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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