Thursday, September 8, 2011

Google Reader

Update:  Google Reader is being retired on July 1, 2013.  Read here to find out about alternatives.

I follow quite a few blogs. 136 to be exact. Yeah, I know, that's a lot of blogs! Not all of them are active, but most of them post at least a couple of times a week. You may wonder how in the world do I keep up with them all.

The answer is Google Reader.  Google Reader is what's known as an "aggregator" which means it gathers content from the websites that you tell it to, whether they be blogs or news sites.

Whenever I find a new blog I want to follow (if there is no obvious link on the blog to subscribe to it), I open up Google Reader and click on Add Subscription.  I do a copy-and-paste of the blog URL (for example, http://21stcenturykeeperathome.blogspot.com ) and hit enter.  Google Reader will show me the last ten posts, and, thereafter, all new posts on the blog.  What's great is that I don't have to visit all 136 blogs, but can simply open up Google Reader and begin reading the posts.  Even if I can't stay to read all of them at once, Google Reader will remember which ones I've read and which ones I haven't and will allow me to pick up where I left the next time I visit.


A few more things to note:

I can "star" items for different purposes and can later revisit those by clicking on Starred Items in the list on the left.  I usually star items to look at more closely later on, to comment to the blog author, to "pin it" to Pinterest or save it to Evernote, or to save the link for my Blog Post Roundups.

I can also rename the blogs.  If you'll notice on the bottom left underneath Subscriptions, these blogs have "K - " in front of their titles.  K means "Keep."  These are blogs that I enjoy looking at and get useful information from.  On other blog titles I have "? - " which means "not sure if I want to keep it or not."  Other blog titles have nothing in front of them which means I haven't made a decision whether to keep it, delete it, or wait and see.

I also read blog posts on my iPhone using the "Byline" app.  It's free, but does have ads which are easily ignored.  I've tried other apps and this is the one that works best for me.
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