Posts Tagged 'Google Reader'

RSS Reader: I’m being selfish, but you need to use one

[Begin preachy personal story] Among the neat things about blogging on WordPress is the relatively comprehensive site statistics the blog creator [Blogfather? Fairy blogmother?] can access from their user dashboard. I am a stat geek (I was obsessed with baseball statistics pretty much throughout all of high school), so this was really exciting for a somewhat quantitatively-oriented guy like me. (I could have also just manually added in Google Analytics to do the same thing, but it seemed like more trouble than it was worth).

One thing WordPress lets you do is track where your visitors are coming from. Particularly of note to someone like me trying to get their blog off the ground, in the extremely short history of this blog, nearly all of users have come from Facebook.

Now that should be pretty obvious, given that I’ve primarily advertised posts on my personal newsfeed to this point in time. But I’m asking Supposedly Good readers to consider another method: RSS Feeds.

While there is nothing particularly new about RSS clients, it was only very recently that I personally began to comprehend their power. I started a Google Reader account a while ago, but I never really used it all that much. It just didn’t seem any more useful than going to the individual sites and reading their entries on their pages with their pretty site designs.

A few months ago, however, a friend told me he was using Google Reader to go through literally hundreds of posts a day in a pretty short period of time. While initially skeptical about whether this was possible, let alone desirable (who has time to read all that stuff in one day anyways?), I decided to give Google Reader a more serious look.

I began with about ten or so blogs, mainly ones that were pretty mainstream and regularly had links roundups to other sites, or ones that I had regularly visited in the past directly through their webpage (like some of the music blogs in my blog roll). During this process, I would find other new blogs that seemed like they consistently delivered new and interesting content and add them to my Google Reader account. Sometimes I would add blogs from businesses or organizations that post infrequently, just to keep track of what they’re up to and so that I don’t forget them.

Over time, I’ve managed to accumulate a large number (embarrassingly large) of blogs into my Google Reader account, with daily posts in my inbox reaching in the hundreds. I am able to get through these at a brisk pace by scanning headlines and only reading those posts that actually seem interesting. Longer posts might be worth a right click into a new tab for later reading, while others may barely get a half second scan. Blogs that aren’t producing content that interests me anymore get dropped. Those that produce 60x/day and/or prove too overwhelming a time commitment might also have to be cut.

I’ve found that this constant process of adding and removing blogs, as well as scanning Google Reader on a daily basis allows me to stay on top of both news and my interests way more effectively than before I started using an RSS Reader. Seeing all the cool stuff coming through my Google Reader account was another key motivation for why I started this blog (as if there weren’t enough already. [End preachy personal story]

[Begin unsolicited advice] So if you don’t have a Google Reader or other RSS Feed account, I’d definitely recommend getting one as it can really expose you to lots of cool things (like from this past week’s links roundup). [End unsolicited advice; begin shameless plug] and also be sure to add Supposedly Good to your account once you’ve set one up to keep track of the latest and greatest from yours truly. [End shameless plug]

Alright, well maybe the entire post was motivated by the shameless plug, but the preachy personal story is entirely genuine. Give RSS a chance. I promise it will reward.

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