What I’m about to tell you will change your life.
Positively and negatively.
Positively, because you’ll wonder how you ever existed without it. Negatively, because all of the time you used to allot to things like eating, sleeping, working, and interacting with the world at large will be reallocated to your new obsession.
And off we go!
So, when I first started reading blogs (circa…2009) I would just save them to my favorites and manually check them whenever I remembered to do so. I probably read about 5 blogs consistently so it was fairly easy just to go through the list and check for updates every now and again. It was a good system and I was happy with it.
And then I was introduced to Google Reader.
Google Reader is a free service that compiles all of your blogs in one place. So instead of manually checking each blog yourself, Google Reader automatically lists updates to all of the blogs you subscribe to and lets you read them all in one place. Oh, for the love of all things convenient!
And it’s so easy to use! All you have to do is sign into Google with your Google account (or create one if you don’t already have an account) and click on Reader on the top left. In another window, go to a blog you want to follow and find the RSS feed, which is usually identified by a small orange square with white curved signals. (An RSS feed is a special link that compiles all updates on a website. If you can’t find the RSS feed or if the site you want to follow doesn’t have one, you can just use the address of the main page but it may not update as effectively as it would with an RSS feed.) For example, if you wanted to follow this blog you could scroll down the list of crap on the right side of the page until you arrive at the RSS feed labeled, “keep me posted.” If you click on the orange box it will take you to the RSS feed for this blog. Copy the address, paste it into your subscriptions in Google Reader, and you’re done! Incessant updates will be coming your way in real-time!
There’s a million other things you can do with Google Reader, like star your favorite posts and organize your subscriptions and see recommendations for other blogs you might enjoy. There’s a world of possibilities, and you will take advantage of them all. Trust me.
The two tabs I keep open in Firefox at all times are my email and Google Reader. I started this journey reading 5 blogs…I’ve now capped myself at a self-imposed limit of 50 (you can see them all on the right sidebar under “blogroll”). It’s insanity…but in the best possible way.
Now go Google Reader it up! And don’t be surprised when you look outside and realize the sun has set without your notice.