This is a way past due catch up entry. I had to drop off the geek sphere for a bit there – but I’m back!
I’ve been an RSS user for a long time, pulling in my podcasts to fill my walks to and from work with strains of CBC and TVO. However, I’d never used an RSS reader to subscribe to blogs or news sites and as such never regularly followed a blog or news site beyond checking my Google News.
Google Reader changed all that. In fact it initially was the cause of some information overload as I eagerly subscribed to blog after blog.
The feature of Google Reader that really pulled me in was the list of feed bundles, found in the Browse for Stuff section. These bundles offer to subscribe you to a group of feeds on a particular topic – anything from Africa to Yoga. I found myself eagerly subscribing to topics that I’m engaged in. There was even a feed bundle on Accessibility, which has turned out to be great for work.
Now it’s time to trim down the number of feeds in my Reader I think.
I tried both Google Reader and Bloglines. I’m seeing the usefulness of using RSS feeds! I like that I’m spending less time randomly opening up blogs to see if there might be a new post. At the same time, I think it will be helpful for me to remember to log off of Google Reader when I’m on the computer and don’t want to be distracted. What I especially like about Google Reader is the way I can scroll through the most recent blog entries and it registers that I’ve glanced at them.
Today I opened a Google Reader account (or, more aptly put, added Google Reader to my ever-expanding array of Google products) and started adding RSS feeds. I came to realize that I have a lot of RSS feeds that I would like to keep up-to-date with. As a matter of fact, after four or five subscriptions I had to put my additions to GR (do you mind if I call you GR?) on the back-burner in order to write this blog entry and get back to work. I have a number to add when I get home, mostly personal – friends and colleagues who jumped on the bandwagon long before me (I’m still chasing after it – but I’m almost there – soon I can be added too!).
Information overload is something I definitely fight with on a regular basis. The coming days will be an experiment – will GR help me to make my life easier or cause me to run for cover? I know that I have a tendency to become irritated when things are left unattended – unread – unloved. I know full well that I will not read a barrage of RSS feeds, but will I be able to mark them as read knowing that they have gone unloved and without attention being paid to them? I think there’s a good chance if I know it’s saving me from having to go from website to website – something I mean to do currently, but cannot find the time to do.
The one thing, the most important, thing about RSS feeds is the ability to customize the information you receive. I would love to see a way for a part-time undergraduate Arts student in her final year who is also the President of the Rocketeering Club to have ONE place to go to read information on convocation, APUS event dates, course deadlines, and keep in touch with fellow rocket enthusiasts. We have come a long way with initiatives like Ulife and the Arts & Science Student e-news, but we still have a long way to go, Today’s online experience is all about customization and customization is a lot of work – but we’ll get there…
I am an RSS addict. Whenever I find a website I like, the first thing I do is to see if it has an RSS feed. That way, I don’t have to go back to the site every time to see if it’s changed – I can see the change right in my Google Reader.
In terms of information overload, yes, there’s a big risk. I currently subscribe to 275 feeds, and obviously I can’t read them all. There are probably 10 or so I read every day, both for work and personal interest, and the rest I just look at periodically. The reason I like the RSS reader is that it’s searchable. It’s a narrowed search – a regular Google search usually brings up the same sites over and over again at the top, especially Wikipedia. But I can check and see if any of my favourite sites have discussed a particular topic.
Someone earlier mentioned bookmarks, which I also find useful, though I think Firefox handles them better than Internet Explorer. I also use Delicious, which is a website that allows you to bring together your bookmarks, tag them, and share them with others.