How do you read blogs? In a reader, of course

December 16, 2008

I used to have tons of bookmarks.

Then I had a huge, long blogroll.

Every so often I’d have to go back and clean these things up, because well, diet bloggers stop blogging sometimes (we know what that means!) and other blogs and sites lose my interest.

My bookmarks become a mess, my blogroll is out of date.

I’d heard about blog readers a few times but never really understood what it was – and I’m not a super techie person so I thought it wasn’t for me.

I was wrong.

I started doing this in early this year and have not looked back.

Reading blogs in a RSS Feed Reader is really easy and it will simplify your life A LOT.

The basic idea is that in one service, one site, you see a list of all the blogs (or other sites) that you follow and you can see the new items and read them all in one place.

First you need to set up an account with a reader. If you already have a Google account (for GMail or YouTube or other Google services) you can use that.  Most other online services (Yahoo, etc) also have this capability, and there are many stand-alone services that do just the reader.  I have a lot of my life on Google so I use theirs, and haven’t bothered to try others because Google’s just works.

Then on all the sites you want to follow you look for text that says “RSS” or “syndicate” or “feed” or for the little orange icon which is sometimes present on the side, top or often bottom of the page :

For the 3FC blogs, look for text that says “Entries RSS”

You click on that and then tell it which of the services of the blog readers you are using, and you’re all set.

I have categories set up in mine – Paris, Denver, Wt Loss Blogs, Cooking, Friends, and a few other interests.  When I add a blog I assign it to the right category.

One drawback is the comments – on most sites (and the 3FC blogs) you can’t comment via the reader, you have to click through to the site to leave a comment.  On my browser the clicks open a new tab and it’s easy to do, but it does take a tiny bit of time.

If you’ve wondered what the RSS reader is, or if you’ve thought about it but not gotten started, I can tell you that I really enjoy it and find it a big boost in my internet productivity (both personally but also professionally).

To add my blog you can check out the sidebar – you want to click on “Entries RSS” or you might copy and paste this into your reader’s “Add new feed” section :

Want to learn more about blog readers? Try reading this

As a result of reading blogs in the reader, my blogroll has gotten even more out of date, and I have just eliminated the links. I’m still loving you, don’t worry, I just can’t keep up with 2 lists, and since the reader is where I actually READ them, it makes sense to take them off the blogroll, since it’s many more steps to put them in and keep them updated.  Hope nobody has their feeling hurt.

I’d love your comments on your experiences w RSS readers – I know there are a few technos in this crowd, and for all I know I’m the last person to get on this bus.

Here is a video that explains all this much better than I just did :

Common Craft RSS explained

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