10/08/2012

What Google Reader

Last week I set out to complete a goal I've had for almost a month now: Get through all the new items in my Google Reader. I had over 400 new items which for me is a lot, and since school has started this fall I have not been able to get through everything. At the moment, I subscribe to 95 sites and feeds. I don't know if this is a small or large amount of subscriptions, but I do know I get  a lot of ideas, tools, and general information on a daily basis from my Google Reader.
Sometimes my feeds seem like a burden and one more inbox I am fighting to get to 'zero' unread messages in, but last Friday I became a born-again Google Reader advocate as I set out to complete my goal. At least half of the information in my feeds were specifically useful or at least interesting and related to school, work and life. I started to think about the information I wouldn't be exposed to if I didn't sit down and sort through the 'feeds' and I know I can probably be considered an amateur Google Reader-er by many who are able to soak up information faster than I can. 
Above is the reading statistics for everything I am subscribed to in my Google Reader. Looking at the past 30 days, I have read (or at least glansed) at 1,150 items. 55 of those stories interested me so much I explored them further by clicking on the link. 19 of the items were 'starred,' which in my world means they were saved to Evernote to be read later using the web tool ifttt.com and this recipe

When I 'read' something in Google Reader, that really means I have skimmed an article to see if it has anything of value to me, consume that information, and decide if I want to share it, save it for later, or spent time exploring more of that topic right then and there. 

Google Reader brings information from many different sites into one simple place you can efficiently read it all. I don't want to try to write a simple explanation of how this happens because I know it's already been done before. 

For a quick how-to on getting started using Google Reader, this link from the University of Minnesota Library provides a quick introduction to RSS Feeds and Google Reader.   

I like the Google sponsered, "some topic.. in Plain English" videos because they are usually under two minutes long.