I follow a certain flow/process for reading web content, which is detailed below.
An RSS feed reader is still my primary way of staying informed from multiple sites and sources. I’ve used Google Reader for years and haven’t had much reason to consider another utility/service.
I’ll typically subscribe to any feed that seems interesting, and review new posts once per day (usually at lunch). Any post that appears interesting I’ll send to Instapaper which I review a couple times per week (usually on my train commute to or from work).
I prefer long-form reading on my Kindle as it is more comfortable on the eyes and feels more like reading a book or newspaper. As I work on a computer daily, any chance to reduce staring at a backlit screen is one that I take.
Once I finish an article on the Kindle, I either archive or delete it from my Instapaper account, which I audit typically once per week.
I find that only a few sources (RSS feeds) provide consistently good content that I read often. The rest is stuff I discover through links from my main sources.
Just because a source publishes a good article one day, that doesn’t mean I want to subscribe to that source forever. In fact, the less sources I have, the better. It’s about quality, not quantity.
I typically find that a heavily-published source like The New York Times or Mashable has an unfavorable signal-to-noise ratio that makes it somewhat pointless to subscribe via RSS. I don’t want to sift through headlines on a daily basis, but rather have my quality feeds point me to the worthwhile posts.
When it’s necessary to sift trough headlines, I’ll simply scan them for keywords and only expand the post body if the headline immediately grabs my attention. There are far too many things to read than to waste time on something even vaguely interesting.
Once every few months I’ll prune my RSS feeds based on a few factors:
When was the last update?
If it’s been months, it’s unlikely anyone from that source is paying much attention to updating the feed. Even sub-par content is better than silence.
Has the content/focus shifted?
I prefer content straight from the source, and not some third-party updates that force me to follow multiple links just to get to the reading. Don’t make me work for your content – put it right in front of me.
I’d also rather have very little content (#1) from the true source – the real voice behind it, than lots of content that doesn’t say much.
If a particular article is inspiring (in line with the things I care about), then I’ll often craft my own blog post that links to the article and includes my thoughts on the topic.
Sometimes I’ll post a link to social networks as well.
At that point my involvement with the content is complete.