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Feeding frenzy

71/365: Mar 12 - Encouraging sign of spring!

Time has gotten away from me this week. I always like to throw at least one post up here in between the blanket-making on Monday and the link-sharing on Friday, and I almost didn’t make it this time.

I’ve been busy. I’ve been working on the blanket eBook, buying fabrics for new spring tops, getting a haircut, crocheting a Spring sweater, and even doing a wee bit of housework. And last night, I wasted valuable time that could have been spent blogging, looking for a new home for my feeds.

Neil introduced me to RSS something like eight years ago. Maybe longer. And since then, I’ve been quite the devotee. So you can imagine the tiny lurch I felt in my stomach when I read that google reader was going away. When I shared this news with Neil, he shrugged and said, “nobody uses RSS anymore.”

What?? How is that even possible? What is more handy than having new content just pop up in a reader? I don’t want email subscriptions to a million feeds, and I don’t want to visit a million blogs individually.  Yikes. The idea of such inbox clutter, or of having to make the time to visit all of those sites gives me a headache. With RSS, all the new posts are collected in one place, and I read them when (and if ) I have time.

But the thing is, Neil usually knows what he’s talking about when it comes to this stuff. So I really had to turn my thoughts from, “what feed reader can I substitute for Google Reader?” to, “what are all the cool kids doing, if they’re not using readers, and how can I get me some of that?”

I think I’ve found a solution in feedly (thanks, Laura). But it is, technically, just still a feed reader, albeit a snazzy, graphical, mobile-friendly one.

I spent a lot of time last night culling my feed list down. I used to have well over 200, but so many of them were inactive, or things I didn’t really care about. And a lot of them were also things that I see often on Twitter, and there’s no point in being notified twice about stuff. I’ve got it down to just about 100 feeds now, and I can probably knock that down even more if I feel like it.

I will admit I *am* finding more of my reading via places like Twitter these days, but there are still some blogs where the best way is through a feed.

Unless I am wrong. What do you do? How do you keep up with your favorite blogs?

36 thoughts on “Feeding frenzy

  1. What do you mean google reader is going away? ::crushed::

    I guess I have to check out this feedly thing. ::grumble, grumble, grumble:: I LIKED my eReader. What happens to all the posts I tagged for reference? I’m totally bummed.

    1. Feedly actually connects to google reader, so it imports all of the things you had saved. I was bummed, too, at first, but I really like the graphical nature of Feedly. It’s kind of like reading a magazine with all of your favorite people as contributors.

      1. Hmmm…that does sound interesting. You’ve convinced me to try it. But Google reader is leaving Feedly with some big shoes to fill.

        1. Nah, I think you’ll find that Feedly has it right. Its interface is so much more modern, and pretty intuitive. I find myself thinking I might have switched long ago, had I known about it.

  2. I’ll be following this comment thread to see what other people are going to do. I love being able to check in on blogs from behind the iron curtain during the work day, and absolutely need to find a new way to do so.

    Worst case, no doubt there’s an app that will do the job, but… Oh well, I have three months to figure it out, right?

    1. Feedly is a website but also an app. It looks really nice on my tablet.

  3. I’m another Reader reader, and am apparently part of Neil’s “nobody.” BAH.

    1. Sometimes I think the way that his SciFi/EducationalTechnology circles run is completely different than the way my Crafty/SliceOfLife circles run. We’ve often had very different experiences of “the way things are done.” Still, there must be at least a small nugget of truth in what he says, since the folks at Google themselves say Reader usage is down.

      1. I’m sure usage is down; RSS *is* harder to use than it used to be — you rarely see the clickable RSS icon anymore. Google isn’t marketing Reader, and hasn’t for years. But, like you, it’s been a perfect product to serve my needs for a long, long time, and I don’t want to retrain myself. I will, of course, like we do.

        I feel the same way about my phone. It’s more than three years old, and it’s slowish, with short battery life — but otherwise, it’s perfect for my needs. But the market is trending away from phones like mine, so I haven’t replaced the old one, because I can’t find a new one I like as well. BAH, I say.

        1. You’re right – it *is* harder to find feeds on websites. You have to be sneaky about it sometimes. What I want to know is, how are these sites finding an audience then? Something must be replacing RSS, right?

          What newfangled things are the young’uns using these days?

          BAH! is right. And get off my lawn!

      2. (I also feel like, once I get excited about Feedly — which, I dunno, I’m not using a tablet and as I mentioned before, my phone is out of date — it’ll go away or get markedly worse or want to start charging me, too. I do like that they’re trying to ease me into it with this Normandy business.)

        1. Agreed. Sometimes I think “home grown” is the only reliable way to go.

  4. I already went through this when bloglines went away (then it came back, but too late for me). I did move to feedly, but I don’t visit there more than once a month or so. So now, if someone doesn’t link to new blog content on twitter, I probably don’t see it anymore.

  5. It is the responsibility of the content creator (blogger) to make it simple for readers (old and new) to find them and get updates. These days, that means taking the content to where your readers or listeners are. RSS is a tool, but one that requires some technical know-how (albeit small, but it has proven an obstacle) and readers to come to you. Put this in contrast to announcing or crossposting on Twitter or Facebook (or Pintrest or Ravelry or whatever crafty social site you like) where subscribing to your content is as simple as clicking like or follow.

    In the world of podcasts, where RSS is the primary delivery mechanism, there is a good reason podcasters submit their feed to iTunes (and similar services). Another one-click solution with a low-threshold user interface.

    If you think about it, social media is a natural progression from RSS readers. Some people won’t like that, but when has change ever been universally accepted. RSS will continue to have purpose, but expect it to fall further into the background until it is eventually replaced with some other XML solution. (Yeah, now I’ve lost a good chunk of people.)

    1. Here is the thing I don’t like about that as a content delivery method: On Facebook, the world (or my friends) can see what I “like.” I don’t want everyone knowing everything I read, necessarily. This is the only crafty blog I follow; many of the other slice-of-life blogs I read are not on Facebook, and many of the radical queer (or other radical) blogs I read are not necessarily places I want potential small-town employers, or casual acquaintances, or elderly aunts, checking out to see what I’m into.
      And the only use I’d have for Twitter would be following all the blogs I already follow, some of which are not on there. Do you think there’s another XML solution on the horizon? Like, soon?

      1. No, nothing coming and even when it does, it is likely to be back-end for smoother integration with social media services.

        Privacy settings are important. Expect that to be the place that changes the most over the next few years. When I’ve taught classes on social media to teachers, I advise a personal and a work account. That way they can better contain which groups of people can see what. Also, nothing says you have to use your real name.

    2. My only problem with this scenario is that many of the content creators I like are *not* savvy to the idea of making their content available everywhere.

      Those bloggers who spread the word on social media are great. I can stop following their feeds and still know I will keep relatively abreast of their exploits.

      But those who just post and expect people to come to them? Well, I could say “too bad for them” and walk away, but I actually *enjoy* what a lot of them have to say, and find an aggregator to be my best way to keep up with it.

      At least, for now. I’m open to new solutions, but I don’t know what they look like yet. Do you?

      1. That’s the thing… it’s never the reader’s responsibility to make up for a failure to market/communicate. That style of blogging is doomed. It’s like standing on a soapbox in the middle of the woods. Whose fault is it when no one is there to listen? Want to help them, nudge them in the right direction.

        If you blog to hear yourself speak, then fine, but if you want people to listen, you have to do some work. The reality of the internet is that it is not a place where the same old way works forever. Change is inevitable and failing to adapt is a significant danger.

        1. Well, yes, that is true. But not everybody knows that 🙂 And some lucky people seem to do just fine with a crowd of readers who visit them directly.

  6. I had a big gulp of “oh no” when I saw that on goggle this morning too. I need to sit down & talk to my techie husband about how to easily follow the stuff I read too. Though I have to admit my own site has a lot more followers on facebook than through RSS….

    1. Mine too. I’ve always been a firm believer in spreading your blog links around. Each of my posts ends up in 6 or 7 places around the social media world, so as to reach my readers wherever they hang out.

      If only everyone self-promoted as well, this wouldn’t be such a big issue 😉

  7. judging from the comments I’m not the only “nobody” out here to get this news from you about reader going away. Just when I finally got figured out how to use it in the way that best works for me!

  8. “I’m Nobody. Who are you? Are you nobody too?”
    I actually felt sick to my stomach when I got the news last night that Reader is shuttering. I follow WAY too many blogs to just click on each throughout the day. I don’t like having my inbox filling up with notifications of blog postings, and I don’t need yet another e~mail account to sequester blog stuff from other stuff.
    I’ll have to go check this “feedly” thing. Will my starred content be automatically starred over there, too? I’m unmoored. Waaaah.

    1. Yes, it copies all of that stuff! Actually, “copies” is not quite the right word. It uses the Google API to access your Reader content and sync up with Reader. I believe their plan is to migrate the data elsewhere once Reader is gone, but that you won’t have to deal with that yourself. It would be a back-end thing.

  9. Reading you from Feedly currently! I about DIED (yes, dramatic much?) when I saw that my Google Reader was going away! Feedly was SO easy to move to, though. Change… it’s okay. *deep breath*

  10. I use Bloglovin’ on my iPhone and wish it were available for the Kindle. It lets me list all the blogs I read and then read from there. It’s also available online. When I opened up online this morning, your recent post was the first one there. I really love this!

  11. Hi, when I found out about Reader yesterday, I thought I would never make it (I’m not a real computer savvy person and love my READER). Hubby has me trying NewsBlur (we couldn’t get into Feedly) which is another reader. So far, my review would be iffy. When it works, it is great, just what I wanted/needed. However, as NewsBlur puts it “those fleeing Reader have totally clogged up NewsBlur”. He’s getting thousands of emails and new accounts per hour, he’s already set up several new servers and can’t keep up. Hopefully it will settle down once the frenzy eases up. So I have a question, who/how/where do you write your blog? I figure Blogger is next to go, so I will need to move my blog and don’t have a clue how, what, where, etc. My website is posted through GoDaddy, so I’m checking out their blog service, but is that the “right” way to go? I hate computers at the moment and wouldn’t you know, both my son and son in law are in computer fields, but not in the simple “click and post” kind of way, so they don’t help me much. Any suggestions? Thanks, Sue Castle

    1. I don’t see Blogger going away. It’s a very popular blogging platform.

      Still, if you feel like moving, I’d recommend WordPress. I use WP for this blog, and it’s a self-installed (wordpress.org) version. That means I need to have a host for it, and I am responsible for all of the maintenance involved. It also gives me the most flexibility in the design. I can pretty much do whatever I want to it.

      If you’re not particularly savvy, you’d be better off using the wordpress.com version. It’s hosted on WP’s servers (just like Blogger is hosted on Google’s servers) and I believe there is an easy way to transfer a Blogger blog to a new WordPress blog.

  12. I never used Google Reader myself, but I do rely on RSS for almost all of my bloggy reading. RSS is even how I read Twitter, since I can’t stand any other way I’ve ever tried and that’s supposed to be going away any day now. Any suggestions for that while we’re on the subject?

    1. I have an unobtrusive Twitter extension for Chrome called Silver Bird. I really like it.

      I hadn’t heard Twitter RSS was going away. I guess we’re all supposed to learn to be API programmers for these services from now on?

  13. I still use Firefox but if I ever switch over to Chrome I’ll keep it in mind.

    There’s a lot of stuff floating around about the removal of RSS. It’s part of a bigger shift in their API philosophy. (There’s more at http://mashable.com/2012/09/05/twitter-api-rss/ if you feel like reading.) Interesting thing is that this was all supposed to happen March 5 when the old 1.0 API went away, yet it’s still working now. I wonder if they reversed themselves and kept it when the RSS lovers (guilty!) went nuts. Of course if they had a decent website it would be unnecessary, but that’s another topic. 🙂

    1. Oh, in that case, try the echofone (sp?) plugin. That’s what I used before I switched to Chrome, and the idea is much the same. Yeah, it looks like the internet is going the way of the API, which in some ways is cool, but then you either have to be techy to get it to work, or you have to wait for somebody to build a tool that fits your needs.

  14. Yes, I’m another one of the “nobody”. And like you, my tech husband just said, “get over it…switch to Protopage”. Waaah! Lisa’s right, most of our blogging community is terribly non-tech savvy and they don’t post to social media. Even if they do, I don’t like that because I miss too many links in the dross. Also, FB doesn’t show you everything a page posts anyway. I like google reader’s nicely organized folders where I can organize it all by my amount of time available. It’s also better for slow connections…too many blogs don’t load well because of their sidebar stuff. I will check out Feedly (thanks Lisa!) but I’m still none too pleased about this. I agree with the privacy concerns on FB. They tell everyone what you like. (Which is good when my kid likes things she shouldn’t…I see it and can “redirect” her…yay!) But I don’t want my mother getting into conversations when I post a comment on some page (she does..ugh).

    It’s not that I’m averse to change. I’m usually quick to adopt new technology. But I just don’t see the alternatives as being as good as an RSS reader. Oh well. Change happens…

    1. I’m starting to look at this as an opportunity to update my strategy. I’ve deeply culled my list of feeds, although I still have a decent number of them. I’m using feedly to deal with those, but I am also keeping my eyes open to better ways of managing my leisure reading time. I suspect, the result of all this will be positive. It’s just the initial change can be a bit painful.

      It’s a shame there aren’t more early technology adopters among our community. It would make it a lot easier to leave RSS behind!

  15. […] it’s been a few weeks since our collective mini-meltdown about Google Reader going away, and I hope you are all a bit calmer now. I am. I have settled into a nice new routine for my own […]

  16. […] very excited about this new series I am working on. I started thinking about this idea when we were all chatting about readers and feeds and RSS (oh my!). I got a real sense that, as a group, our comfort levels with blogging technology are kind […]

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