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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Reading Springfield blogs and more (a tutorial)

Cross-posted to SpfldBloggers.com (May 8, 2007).

The problem:

How to keep up with the ever growing list of Springfield blogs, that is the question. For anyone finding it increasingly time consuming to stay on top of what 69 Springfield bloggers are saying on a daily basis (assuming you want to), there might be an easier way.

The hard way, of course, would be to check every blog every day in a browser. The problem with that is not everyone updates their blogs on a daily basis. Obviously, this way takes a lot of time. And it can be frustrating to find your favorite blog hasn't yet updated. Or, they update right after you surf away from their page.

The solution:

The easy way is be to be notified when someone posts a new entry on their blog. That's where having a news reader or aggregator comes in handy. I like to call them readers.

There are two basic kinds of readers: (1) A desktop or separate program (some cost money to get, some are free); and (2) A web-based reader (all that I've seen are free). Within each of those categories, there are many different choices.

My personal choice is the web based reader. That way I don't have to be at my own computer to check my feeds. I can check them at home, or from work, or from someone else's computer. I've tried several different readers. The one I'm currently using is Google Reader.

How to make it happen in four easy steps:

1. Go to google.com/reader. You already have a Google Reader account if you have Google e-mail. If you don't have a Google e-mail account, create a Google Reader account.

2. Sign in.

3. Google Reader comes with some pre-installed news subscriptions. But, we want to add our own favorites. Click the "+ Add subscription" link on the lefthand side. That opens a little box to enter a single web address. For example, you can add the web address for my weblog.

4. But, who wants to sit there and add 69 different web addresses? Well, you don't have to. Enter shoo, proprietor of GotShoo.com and SpfldBloggers.com. He has created a single web address that aggregates the most recently updated blogs from the SpfldBloggers blogroll. Just drop http://www.spfldbloggers.com/feed.php into the aforesaid little box, and walla, you will soon see some recently updated Springfield blogs on one page right in your browser. Load that Google Reader every day and you'll see more updated daily blog content.

Go forth and multiply your daily reading and cultural experience:

Besides blogs, there are other web pages that have feeds that can be put in the reader. I'd recommend going with the State Journal-Register's own fine selection of news feeds. Next you might also like putting your favorite Flickr photographer into your Reader. (A couple fine local Flickrers: Jason Matthews, Allie Carnes, Matt Penning, and Chris Scheufele.

Actually, any web page that has one of those little orange buttons can be put into the reader. And, there are a lot more kinds of content that can be put in the reader. However, I'll leave those for another time as this may be getting a little overwhelming at this point.

I wanted to make this quick and easy and not too technical. If I got something wrong, or someone knows better, please leave a comment. The main thing is to use the reader, whenever possible and on a daily basis instead of going to individual web pages. That's all. Until further notice. Carry on.

P.S. And most importantly and the reason I wrote this, I want to give a big thank you to shoo for creating SpfldBloggers.com and the single aggregation link. Wow! That's just what we've been wanting.

Added, Sunday, May 13, 2007: 20 Free RSS Readers Reviewed

Posted by Marie at May 5, 2007 11:17 PM

Comments

A Google Reader has one other advantage ... not that I would ever use it ... of course not. It probably would get around your company's blocking software.

Posted by: Rob Author Profile Page at May 6, 2007 12:13 PM

Good article Marie.

I use both Springfield Bloggers, and Google Reader.

JP

Posted by: JeromeProphet at May 7, 2007 6:55 AM

Marie, excellent tutorial again. If you post this on spfldbloggers, I can feature it as the 'tutorial to spfldbloggers.'

Posted by: shoo Author Profile Page at May 8, 2007 12:06 PM

Wanna hear something weird? I just went home at lunch and was watching TV, and the Haunting show about the Lake Club was on. So I taped it to watch when I get home. I was really suprised to see something about SPFLD.

I returned to work, and googled the lake club, and found your blog

http://www.disarranging.com/review/archives/001646.php

It was the 4th thing on the list, and I recognized your blog title from gotshoo.com.

This place is only 2 miles from my house!! (and shoo's old neighborhood).

I didn't know Springfield was cool.

Posted by: Betsy at May 8, 2007 1:02 PM

Thanks, Chris. I take that as a real compliment coming from a technologically advanced person as you. Seriously. I just cross-posted it.

Posted by: Marie at May 8, 2007 10:38 PM