Managing Blog Subscriptions

Amongst other things, I am a moderator at a great forum called Aussie Bloggers Forum. To be a member of this forum you don’t have to be an Australian, but just have an interest in blogging or Aussie culture.

One of the responsibilities that I have in this role is to write a monthly post for the Aussie Bloggers Blog. I thought I would cross post my contribution from September as it is very relevant to what I write about here on Set Up Email Address.

The original post can be read here.

Back in June, Sueblimely wrote a great post on Searching For Blogs of Interest. This post will show you one way in which you can manage your blog subscriptions.

I started my blog in January this year and only really started reading other blogs a month or so before that. To keep up to date with what was happening on my favourite blogs, at first I just saved the blogs to my online favourites and would check them when I went on line.

Then I found the wonders of RSS (Really Simple Syndication). RSS is a format which is used to publish frequently updated content such as blogs, news, Twitter and podcasts. A feed (RSS document) contains either the full text of the content or a summary of the content.

The RSS Icon as shown above, is found all over the internet and tells you that this site has a feed to which you can subscribe to. The benefit of RSS is that you collate the content from multiple sources into one place.

You read the RSS content using software called an RSS reader or a feed reader. These can be web-based like Bloglines or Google Reader or desktop-based like in Outllook 2007.

When I first set up a reader I was using the one provided in Outlook 2007. Two major laptop crashes and wiped hard drives which saw me lose my subscriptions to blogs twice, made me look for an online alternative.

I chose to set up an online reader with Google. Since establishing it back in July, I now have over 130 different subscriptions from blogs, news alerts and Twitter. With so many subscriptions if I don’t check my reader for a couple of days, it can easily be then exceeding 1000 items.

Naturally this is a little overwhelming and it wasn’t until I learnt a trick from Ed Dale on the 30 Day Challenge that I found a way to easily manage this volume of items in my reader.

The image below is a screen shot from my Google Reader. Note where the red arrow is pointing. It is set on the default Google Reader setting of Expanded view. While this view is great as you get to see the post without clicking on it to open it, it doesn’t allow for quick scanning.

In this next image below, I have returned the my Google Reader to List View which is how I now use this service. With all my subscriptions listed, I can skim through them quickly, stopping to read those that I want to. Once I have made my way through the list, I click on “Mark All as Read” and I have emptied my reader.

Since making this very simple change to my reader, I have now been able to keep the number of items under control and keep up to date with my blog subscriptions.

Another feature of Google Reader which I love, is that even if I have just as noted above, marked all as read, but realise that I actually wanted to refer back to one of those posts, I can still retrieve the post.

The above image shows a folder that has all posts read. If I want to go back and see a previously read post, I simply click on “View all items” and all previous posts will be retrieved. Effectively they are never really deleted and can be recalled at any time while you are subscribed to that blog.

This is one way to manage your blog subscriptions. How do you manage yours?

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