Thursday, 4 October 2012

Google reader

I know I am often technologically challenged, but I actually showed my teenager something the other day. Lol. Believe me it doesn't happen often. I always laugh that teens are digital natives and we are digital immigrants.

In any case, I taught my son the wonder of Google Reader.

I read a lot of blogs, publishing pages, author sites, writing hints, blogger hints, tumblr pages and image sites. I don’t even have a tumblr page and it lets me read posts this way.

Phew. I feel tired just listing all of that. If I was to bookmark each site address, then I would have to find the time to check them all. Or to register on all of them and remember another dozen passwords.

I am never going to remember to do all of that.

So I use the wonderful invention of the RSS feed. For those who don’t know what an RSS is, according to Wikipedia, it stands for Rich Site Summary. And it looks like this:

I had to explain this to a few people when I wanted to add one to my JBNP story page. I think I worked it out there, but it’s hard to know unless I subscribed to it myself to check. Didn’t think of that, then, did I?

So far, I have 78 sites that I follow in this way. It has become my morning habit to sit, with my first cups of coffee, and to check them all. Google reader puts them all in one place and lets me sort them into folders. It looks a lot like an email reader. I can scan through; see which to read in more detail, skip the ones that don’t interest me, open items fully on their own site, star items as favourites, and copy urls to email or tweet the page link to others.

I can even load a Reader app from the chrome web store that sits on the top corner of my  browser pane and tells me how many I have unread. So I will never miss an update.

To subscribe is easy. I just click that curved line symbol and Reader tells me how many updates the site releases a week, and gives me the option to subscribe. If it is too many, I will skip it.

My son uses it for deviant art, fanfiction and some other sites of his. And yes, every fanfic author has an RSS button on their author page. 

Bet you didn't know that!

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