Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thing 8: RSS & Newsreaders

Week 4:
8. Learn about RSS feeds and setup your own Bloglines newsreader account.
I signed up for Google Reader and Bloglines so that I could compare two different RSS feed readers. I like the look and feel of Google Reader. It's much more user-friendly, and less busy than Bloglines. Bloglines has several tabs in which you can do other things, like create your own blog, for instance. It also has a tab labeled "Clippings" and one labeled "Playlists." I have yet to investigate those. When I do, I will edit this post with the information.

Finally, it all makes sense. I was really beginning to get pretty irritated with bookmarking everything. Having all these little blogs running around in my head and in my browser was really getting on my nerves, and keeping up with what I had already read, as opposed to what I hadn't was giving me major information overload syndrome (MIOS). I was really beginning to feel rather put upon by all the blogs that people have been insisting that I take a look at, especially when they really were just for fun. I always put those on the back burner - my private thoughts were: "Do I have time to see the latest little doo-dad you've put on your blog? Do I look like I have time to look at that?

It's pretty easy with a feed reader, believe me. Because you only have one place to look, and that one place shows you what is new, right off the bat.

I happen to get a real kick out of "The Brick Testament." Some guy, a self-ordained minister, has taken on the task of reproducing the Bible using Legos. I've been reading it for years. It's funny enough to choke a moose, seriously. Anyway, whenever something new is added, I have to hunt around for the entry that is labeled with "NEW!" If it's been quite a while since I've looked at the site, I might actually miss that little "NEW!" label.

I am completely sold on blogs now, because RSS makes it so easy to keep up and keep track. RSS feed readers keep track of what you have read and the new content waits for you until you are ready to read it. And you can sort entries in chronological order (rather than the reverse, which is how blogs usually are). So when I go to Google Reader and sign in, I get a list of all my subscriptions and the number of new posts. I click the "Brick Testament" subscription name and get a list of all the new posts, which I can read or mark as read, until I'm done looking at them.

Browsers can serve as feed readers, or you can use a reader that resides somewhere on the web. I recommend the latter, because you don't have to be at your own computer. Google Reader is excellent, in my opinion, because it is so simple. It also has a nice optional feature: each entry is marked as read once you've scrolled through it.


1 comment:

beachy librarian said...

I also find Bloglines to be very busy - and alot of the content that was under the automatic signup when I registered was from 2004! I will definitely try Google Reader.