I’ve appealed umpty-ump times here for people with excerpted RSS feeds to add full RSS. I no longer subscribe to blogs unless their RSS is full. At this moment, I’m on an iBook on a train, disconnected from the net. However, I am going back through my Shrook subscriptions and reading all the stuff that came in overnight. I like doing this, but I can’t do it when the feed is clipped to 200 characters.
Here’s my deal with RSS readers. They really aren’t about the reading – anything can do that. A good RSS reader enables and makes convenient the management of your feeds – keeping track of what you have and haven’t read, allowing you to flag things as something you want to return to for blogging later. It’s less about the sheer reading and more about controlling large amounts of inbound data. That’s why I stopped using FeedOnFeeds, because while the reading was enabled quite well, the management was weak. What I like about Shrook best is the management. You can mark articles for coming back to later, you can set up “smart groups” where virtual groups have all articles that match keywords and things. Searching is easy, so knowing what I have yet to read and finding something I want to blog about is simple.
The good things that can be done via RSS are mostly undone by excerpted feeds. This is why I have removed from my aggregator blogs I really want to follow that way, like Making Light, Kathryn Cramer and Mark Evanier. Please please please, use full feeds my friends.