being the amazing and internationally acclaimed consumer journalist i am - in my dreams - i will tell you today about something new i've just found. you see sophia, i'm blogging about it, like you asked...
as you all know, i read quite a few blogs. and in the process, i have noticed that people encourage you to 'subscribe to this blog'. now i have never known what this means, and i have never paid it much attention. but last week i decided that it was something i would like to know more about.
i read all about RSS feeds, and let me tell you, it still makes very little sense. then i visited my go-to guy, tibi at lost art of blogging. he claims he is not really an expert, but i have always found his posts well written, and he uses capital letters!, and i have learned a lot about the technicalities of blogging from him. his blog is not nearly as intimidating as some of the expert's are.
i left a bewildered comment there, and he emailed me back! i was very impressed. he explained RSS in more detail. it is very technical. he also said "I follow about 150-200 blogs daily. Imagine me having to open all of these blogs in my browser each day, just imagine the time I'd waste. With my Google reader it's really easy for me to see if there's a new post, and eventually if there's an update I can read it from there, without having to deal with the hassle of opening the respective blog in my browser. It's all about time management and productivity. Of course there's a lot more reasons for using RSS, but for me 'time' is the most evident one."
what tibi does not even touch on, is the data bundle. most south africans have a data bundle, that should last for the month. data is expensive. so, every time i visit a blog, i download data on my computer, and it all adds up. not having to visit a blog unnecessarily, saves some data too. on dial-up it makes even more sense!
so, i looked at google reader. i had read about it a few times, and when tibi recommended it, i gave it a try. i added some of the blogs i read to it. and i am so impressed! you can add all your blogs in google reader. it keeps them all together. the other advantage of this is that i have all my favorites online, so i can find them on my computer at home, and my computer at the shop. over the next few weeks, i will be transferring all the blogs i like to read there.
i found the easiest way to add a new subscriber is to open the blog in the usual way, get up-to-date with the posts, then copy and paste the blog's URL (address) into the 'add subscription' block. it can find a blog itself if you fill in some keywords, but it is quicker to fill in the URL yourself.
the first time you add a blog, it will show you the last 10 posts. i check that i have read all of them, and then click on 'mark all as read'. then i add another, and mark as read. and so on. i have set it that it only shows the updated blogs. it gives you the amount of posts you have not yet read in brackets. when you click on that, it opens the blog for you.
now, i like to read a blog in context. i like to see the banner, the side bars, and the previous posts. so, i click on the name of the blog, and it takes me to the blog itself. then, when i'm finished, i just go back to the google reader, i click on 'mark all as read' for that blog, and move on to the next.
if you read the blogpost directly in google reader, it does apparently not count as a hit on the blog you are reading. but, if you click on the name of the blog, and it takes you straight to the blog, and then it does count as a hit. in the stats of the blog it will show as a hit from 'www.google.com/reader'.
tibi is right. it saves me tons of time, and that time i could use to read other blogs, that i never had time for. his reading 150-200 blogs probably takes up less time that my 10-30 blogs did. so, much more efficient! during the time i am online, i keep the google reader open, and when someone loads a new blogpost, i see it come up. i find it especially useful to keep track of those blogs that don't update regularly. now i don't have to keep checking in, just to find there is nothing new.
i know that there are other ways to subscribe. there are many places where you can keep track of your blogs. if you use another way, let me know in the comments. i am quite new at this, so there is still lots to learn.
wow, this post has turned out to be one huge infomercial. google, you can send me the cheque now...
you can read follow-up comments about google reader here.
jacki janse van rensburg - SCRAPPIN TIMES scrapbooking shop, benoni, gauteng, south africa