Many of us geeky people in the tech world are well aware of RSS feeds, RSS feed readers, and the beauty of having content sent right to you. But not everyone falls into this nerdy category. The overwhelming majority of folks consume web content by visiting each of the websites (or blogs) that interest them, read the new content, and then move along. The keep track of these sites by memory, or bookmarks, etc. But now, with Google reader it makes it so easy to stay on top of new content–for everyone (this means it is easy to use and you don’t have to even know what a feed is to use it–although understanding feeds certainly helps). Here are the reasons I heart Google Reader and you should too!
- Organize your subscriptions. Google Reader allows you to organize your subscriptions into categories and when you login you can see what categories have new content. My favorite thing about this is that I can get a holistic view of everything I might want to read based on the categories/folders I have defined (much like you view your email inbox with filters). This makes it easy to focus on the things that I care about first–my categories include personal (my friends’ blogs), health, self improvement, finance, style, entrepreneur, marketing, online video, tech, etc. You can define whatever categories you like and have as many (or as few) subscriptions as you want in each one. TIP: If you have a business you should follow all of your competition’s blogs/feeds, and related industry information with your google reader. Sorting it out will help you digest all of this quickly.
- Integrated with my contact list. I also like that I can view my contacts (I use google mail, so many of my contacts are there) and their shared items and comments. I can also share items with them, or mark that I liked items etc. This has helped me discover new blogs and content as well as interact with my colleagues in a social media (woo hoo for social media!)
- Use your time efficiently. GReader also works on the iPhone (which I still don’t have one but….) so you could theoretically catch up on your web reading anywhere you bring your phone–how cool is that?
- Makes it easy to get through a lot of content. You can skim the content, read the content, click and go visit the website with the content–and even share the content–all very easily (they even have keyboard shortcuts–try pressing ‘j’ to see what I mean). And another great feature is that you can star items to save, so for those of us following tons of subscriptions, you can skim through all the content and then go back through and read your starred items in greater detail.
Ever since I started using Google Reader a couple of months ago I have become way more efficient. I am able to consume more information quicker than I was previously. I am able to follow more blogs and sites than I was just using old RSS. I have also discovered at least 15 new sites with great content to track (thanks to my friends sharing items with me). I heart Google Reader. Heart.