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BlogTalk: RSS Readers

by - Thursday, July 05, 2012

How do you read blogs? Do you have bookmarks and go and visit each and every site? Do you subscribe through email and have blog posts clogging up your inbox? Or do you use an RSS reader? Do you even know what an RSS reader is? I didn't for the longest time, but then when I found out, it rocked my world.

What is RSS?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. Basically, its a way to keep informed about a blog's new posts without having to visit the blog; blog posts are "pushed" to you. You subscribe to a blog's RSS feed and then the posts can be emailed to you, or, if you subscribe to many RSS feeds, you can have them gathered in an RSS reader application for easier reading.

How to subscribe to an RSS feed?
See that icon in my right sidebar, the one that looks like a black rainbow? Click on that and you can subscribe to my blog RSS feed via email. Simple, right? I personally use an RSS reader because I'm addicted and read over 150 blogs because its more efficient and an easier way to read multiple feeds. But which RSS reader to use? Here's a few that I like.

Google Reader is the king of RSS readers. Its very simple to use, all you need is a Google account. Plus it comes with a few handy features:

  • You can add tags for future reference. Find a blog post that inspires you to write your own post in response? Tag it. Come across a birthday party idea you want to save for next year? Tag it. One of my most used tags is "Pinterest". I tag blog posts that have images I want to save to my Pinterest account and when I have spare time, I do all that pinning at once.
  • It has handy bookmarks. Go to the Reader Settings, and then Goodies and you'll find bookmarks for "Subscribe" and "Next". Drag these into your bookmarks toolbar. The Subscribe bookmark allows you to instantly subscribe to whatever site you're on, if it has an RSS feed. The Next bookmark takes you to the next unread post in your reader.
Reeder is an app I use when I'm reading on my iPad. It links to your Google Reader account and makes scanning through posts a breeze. It has a clean interface and moving to the next blog post is as easy as a swipe of the hand.

Zite is not really an RSS reader but its a great way to look at blog posts and articles about specific topics, on your iPhone or iPad. Its basically a personalized magazine that you create by selecting topics that interest you. I have Blogging, Interior Design, and Social Media among the sections in my Zite. The application trolls the interwebs for articles that might interest you and puts them all in one spot. 

So that's how I manage reading hundreds of blogs. It takes some effort, doesn't it? How do you read blogs?

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