This post is basically about Feeds & Google Reader. I've been blogging (Not on a Personal Blog though) for a long time (Check my Profile and see!), and earlier the most difficult thing was to stay updated with the recent posts (And to make sure your readers read posts too.) Since not everyone was interested in opening the blog everyday, posts generally would be left unread for a long time. And then came Feeds!
I'm guessing you know what Feeds are (Also read about RSS on Problogger). In simple terms, "They keep you in touch with the latest changes in a dynamic page". Now to use it, just subscribe to a feed. Ever noticed an Orange colored "Radio Signal" next to the url in the address bar in Firefox? Click and you can subscribe to my Blog feed! It'll appear as a folder inside your Bookmarks Folder with links to the latest posts.But Feed Readers/Aggregators go a step further. They'll email you whenever a new post is there, or collect all new posts in one place where you can read it later. There are many services that do this. But I prefer Google Reader. Though it doesn't email you notifications, it has a really simple interface. So here are some things that you can do in Google Reader:
- Adding Subscription: Just Click on the option, enter the Url of the blog, and you are done! Also, you can just type keywords to search for public feeds (EPL? Latest Google Updates? Cooking Tips?). Alternatively you can bookmark a "Subscribe" button, clicking which will Subscribe you to the current page (Blog/Site) you are viewing (If it has Feed Support that is!). To do this, go to Settings > Goodies and then drag the button to your Bookmark Toolbar.
- Using Feeds: You can easily Rename the feeds & categorize them using Folders. Also, you can "Star" selected posts or "Share" them with other friends in your contact list (Or add a widget to show them on your blog!)
- Reading Feeds: A very nifty feature is that each post that you read (ie. scroll by) is automatically marked read. This way you can just glance through the "All Items" Section everyday, scroll past boring posts and open those which you like (And then comment on them too!)
- Notes: Everything you read might not be a blog. Sometimes you might like some random webpage and would like to keep it for reference. Though that's what Bookmarks are for, you can also do it through Google Reader. Just drag the "Add as Note" Button as a Bookmark, and add Notes to sites while browsing!
- Offline: Yes! You can set your Google Reader to download feeds which you can read later without being connected to the net. Helps when you are in a campus like BITS with high-speed Internet :P
So do use Google Reader (Or whichever Aggregator you prefer), but do let the writer know you read the post! ;)
PS: I would also like to inform my fellow BITSians that our beloved Dr. T. C. Goel, Director, BITS Pilani, Goa Campus, is no more. May his soul rest in peace.