Information Overload

Anyone with more than 25 feeds in their RSS reader knows all about this. The Information Age has lead to a malady known as Information Overload. How many times have you been sifting through your feeds and thought to yourself, "I couldn't care less about half this stuff"? EctoFeed is intended to help with this.

Filtering Junk

EctoFeed won't completely solve Information Overload, but it will likely help. The basic idea is that it allows you to score feed items such that the stuff that's relevant to you bubbles to the top, and the junk falls down on the list so that you might never see it at all. It requires an initial investment of time, but you'll probably begin saving time quickly.


How do you determine what's relevant to you? When you peruse a newspaper, how do you determine which articles to read? EctoFeed is based on the notion that relevancy is very subjective. It doesn't care about what's relevant to the crowds, but instead allows you to shape it to your personal interests. There are several criteria you might use to determine what is and isn't relevant to you. For example:

  • Topics (you might love to hear about the latest products from Apple, and couldn't care less about the NBA playoffs)
  • Authors (certain bloggers are likely to be much more relevant to your interests than others)
  • Sources (perhaps the New York Times is top on your list, and you only take modest interest in your local paper)
  • Time (items published more recently may be more relevant than older articles)
  • Popularity (you may care more about items others have "voted up")

Currently EctoFeed focuses on the first three of those criteria. We'll explain a bit more below. The basic idea, though, is that it allows you to indicate what is and isn't relevant, then it does the work of scoring items in such a way that you see more of what you want and less of what you don't.

Using EctoFeed

The best way to get an overview of using EctoFeed is to watch our short tour video. That should get you familiar with the basics of how EctoFeed works.

Disadvantages to EctoFeed's Approach

Even with EctoFeed you're still going to see stuff that's irrelevant to you (though, hopefully not quite as much). On occasion you'll also get a false positive (a feed item gets a low score when it's actually something you care about). EctoFeed also requires an initial investment of time in which you set up keywords. This is something you'll be doing on an ongoing basis, but you'll find that the amount of time you spend creating filters decreases over time.

But What About Artificial Intelligence, Neural Networks, Bayesian Filters...?

Yeah, these ideas are great, in theory. It seems that they only work marginally well in practice, though, and only under specific circumstances. The people who build a system using these technologies that does an excellent job of determining relevancy for specific individuals will probably be very wealthy. So far that hasn't happened. Until then, EctoFeed might be a pretty good interim solution.