Are you drowning in a sea of information? Would you like to follow some internet sites regularly, but it would be just one more thing to do? A reader may be the answer for you. (I’m referring to web-based aggregators, not eReaders for eBooks like Kindle or Nook.) If you don’t have a reader (aggregator), then I hope by the end of this post, you’ll know some effective ways to follow content on the internet and whether a reader would help.
First, watch this video for a very easy explanation of RSS, feeds, and readers; it’ll help you know how to get started. (YouTube wouldn’t let me embed it, so please come on back after you watch the video to find out the three reasons I promised you.)
Are you back from watching the video? Good. Now ask yourself how much you read (or would like to read) on the internet.
If you only like to read occasionally, or from random sites, you might just use Read It Later on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Instead of being sidetracked by different sites you run across during the day, you mark the page to be read later when you have time. You can even download what you want to read offline.
Alternatively, you can allow RSS feeds from a blog or two that you enjoy to go into your eMail inbox through Outlook 2007 and some other eMail services. The posts will appear in separate folders for each feed instead of mixed in with your eMails. Follow these instructions for Outlook 2007.
If you have a lot to read either of these might not be a good option. (Stay with me and keep reading.)
The Benefits of Readers over eMail Subscriptions
If you subscribe by eMail to a few blogs and receive posts in your inbox, you may want to consider a reader because:
- Using a reader is safer because you aren’t using your eMail address when subscribing to a RSS feed, eliminating your exposure to spam, viruses, phishing, and identity theft, which can be associated with eMail. (Please see the note about MailChimp and this blog.)
- When you don’t want a feed anymore, you just remove it from your aggregator, instead of sending an unsubscribe request to stop receiving eMails.
- Feeds are sorted, not arriving randomly like eMail in your inbox. Each feed, whether its from your favorite blog, news source, or whatever, has its posts automatically grouped under the source.
Getting Started Tips
This post has actually gone long enough, so I’ll continue this as a series. If you want to for now, follow the advice in the video to start using a reader. I’ve also included some links you can check out on your own if you don’t want to wait for me.
Visually Appealing Readers
- Feedly (recommended – works with your Google Reader – click on the image above for a closer look)
- Follow WordPress blogs from within your home page
- Paper.li (recommended – you might want to wait for my post about it)
- I’m encouraging all regular e4e readers to subscribe to this blog using the very secure eMail service, MailChimp. If you prefer, you can still use a reader or follow with WordPress, but subscribers receive eMails about upcoming events and they help me evaluate what everyone is most interested in reading so I can serve you better (and more efficiently). So, CCC staff, please subscribe here to receive weekly eMails of e4e posts, notifications of training, and more.
- The video is also available here in French, Japanese, German, Dutch, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and Spanish.