Google Reader – Mark As Read By Time Line

I have been away a lot the last couple of weeks. Firstly I went to Singapore for the Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards. My other blog Planning With Kids was judged as being in the top 5 parenting blogs for the Asia Pacific Region! We were only back for two days, when we then headed to Mildura to see my sister’s new baby girl. As a consequence of this busyness my Google Reader is at exploding point!!!

Previously when this has happened, I have had to declare “Reader Bankruptcy” where I click on “Mark As Read” for all items. I find this incredibly disappointing as I know that I have lost out on reading some fantastic blog posts. There is however a new function on Google Reader that prevents you from having to clear all items in your reader, you can choose to mark as read either all items, items older than a day, items older than a week or items older than two weeks.

For me this a nice middle ground, I can delete everything over two weeks old, then start making my way through the most recent posts. The below screen shots, show how easy it is to do:

Google Reader - Mark all as read by date 1

In this screen shot the red arrow highlights that I have 1000+ items in my reader. The blue arrow highlights that in this blog feed alone I have 60 new items.

Google Reader - mark all as read 2

By clicking on the “Mark As Read” drop down menu, I then have a choice to mark items as read by the following time lines:

  • All items
  • Items older than a day
  • Items older than a week
  • Items older than two weeks.

I have chosen the “Items older than two weeks” option in this example.

Google Reader - mark all as read 3

Google Reader then asks me if I am sure that I want to do this. It only asks this question when you are marking as read numerous items. I then click on “Mark as Read” to confirm that I want to do this.

Google Reader - mark all as read by date 4

The red arrow now highlights that I have only 16 items unread for this blog feed – much more manageable than 60. Of course you can do this for all items at once , by simply clicking on “All Items” on the left hand side of your reader and then following these same steps. Happy Reading!

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?

Google Reader in Plain English

Common Craft, whose videos I have used previously on this blog, were hired by the team at Google to make a short video on their Google Reader. The video runs for just over a minute and as is Common Craft’s unique style, is in plain english and very easy to understand.

My step by step instructions on adding blogs to Google Reader includes screen shots if you are looking for more information on how to use Google Reader.

How To Use RSS Feeds To Keep Up To Date With Your Favourite Blogs

By now if you have had a look around Technorati and starting surfing the web using the StumbleUpon Toolbar, you will have no doubt found yourself an amazing number of blogs that you would like to keep up to date with.

In a previous post I gave a very generic introduction to the How To RSS Feeds. Today I will take you through a step by step guide on how to use RSS to subscribe to blogs.

I will use my reader (Google Reader) as an example of how to do this, but the process will be very similar regardless of which reader you choose to do.

STEP 1 – THE RSS ICON

Locate the RSS icon on the blog that you would like to subscribe to. The read arrow points out what you should be looking for. Click on the RSS icon to add it to your reader.

STEP 2 – SELECTING YOUR READER

On this page you will be given a range of web based and other type readers to choose from. For me I simply click on the Google button, which I have pointed out with the red arrow. If you were using a reader in Outlook you would choose the “View Feed XML” option.

STEP 4 – ADDING TO READER

On this page I need to choose the “Add to Google Reader” button as pointed out with the red arrow.

STEP 5 – SUCCESSFULLY SUBSCRIBED

The blog has now been added to my reader. You will note that the arrow on the left points to the Previous Item and Next Item buttons. You can use these to click through the posts that have been added to your reader.

When you add a new blog to your reader, how many items it adds to your reader will depend on what the blog owner has set up for their feed. It is usually between 5 – 10 items, but some may have more. The red arrow on the right points to the number of items that are unread for this blog, which in this case is 10.

STEP 6 – ADDING TO FOLDER

If you look to where the green arrow is pointing you will see a drop down menu titled “Feed Settings”. This allows you to manage your subscriptions efficiently by adding them to folders.

For example some of the folders that I have in my reader are mum blogs, dad blogs, craft blogs, recipe blogs. So when I click on the Feed Settings, I can scroll down and add this blog to mum blogs.

If you haven’t made any folders yet, scroll through until the end of the drop down menu and click on the “New Folder” option and name the folder as you wish. Having folders makes it easier to find blogs, if you are wishing to read one particular one.

STEP 7 – READING NEW ITEMS

When you go back to your reader, you can easily see what blogs have new items. The red arrow points to bolded blogs. If a blog is in bold, it means that there are unread items. The number in brackets, tells you exactly how many items are unread for that blog.

It also will tell you this information for the folder. In this instance Mum Blogs has new items and the actual number is 101. (As you can probably tell, I haven’t checked my reader for a couple of days!)

So now as you are web surfing, for blogs that you would like to stay updated with, just look for the RSS Icon and add them to your reader!

Finding Blogs To Subscribe To On Technorati

Image from Wikipedia

If you have set up an email address and worked out the how to of RSS Feeds, then you might be looking for something to put into your empty reader.

An authoritative first place to start is Technorati. Defined in simple terms Technorati is a search engine for blogs. When you go to Technorati there is numerous ways to search for blogs. I would recommend the following searches for newcomers to Technorati:

Technorati Top 100 Blogs
This lists the top 100 blogs that have been listed with Technorati, by either their authority or the number of fans they have.

Authority within the realm of Technorati means the number of blogs linking to a website in the last six months. The higher the number, the more Technorati Authority the blog has.

Fans are the number of Technorati members that have added that blog to their favourites on Technorati.

You can scroll through this list and see if any blogs appeal to you. This search is good to use if you have broad interests or would like to keep up to date with the biggest blogs on the internet.

Technorati Blog Directory
This directory lists blogs under categories and sub categories. For example if you were interested in blogs on written by mums, you would find them listed under the category of Lifestyle and sub category of Parenting.

It is important to note that blogs must be “claimed” or listed on Technorati to be on the directories, so not all blogs that are on the internet are listed on this site. It does however have one of the most comprehensive blog directories that you will find on the internet, so it is a great place to start if you would like to find blogs to subscribe to.

Simple Video Explanation Of How To RSS Feeds

Common Craft made this video and posted it on You Tube. YouTube is a video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips.

The video is aimed at those on the internet that have not yet learned the how to of RSS feeds. The video goes for under four minutes and is explained in “plain english”. Diagrams are also used to illustrate the concept of RSS in an easy to understand way. This should compliment my previous explanation of How To RSS Feeds.

The How To With RSS Feeds

In this post – Set Up Email Address = Opening The Door To Social Media I spoke about using a service to keep track of your favorite websites and blogs, all in the one spot. Well this is done by the magic of RSS.

The initials “RSS” are used to refer to the following formats:

* Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0)
* RDF Site Summary (RSS 1.0 and RSS 0.90)
* Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91)

Now I am not going to go into too much technical detail about RSS but I will just try to give a brief explanation on what RSS is and how to RSS Feeds for the user.

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 benefit of RSS is that you collate the content from multiple sources into one place. At the moment I have over 100 different subscriptions from blogs, news alerts and Twitter.

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.

It is up to you what feeds you subscribe to and you do so by entering the feed’s link into the reader or by clicking an RSS icon in a browser that initiates the subscription process.

Your reader will then check your subscribed feeds regularly for new content. If there is new content it is automatically downloaded and then you use the reader interface to read the feeds. If you wish to comment on a blog post or read the full content if only a summary is provided, you can always click on the links in that particular document feed and go through to the original source.

My reader of choice is Google Reader but I am a recent covert from using the one provided in Outlook 2007. I probably would not have thought about setting up a Google Reader except that I set up email address with Gmail.

I have found the experience with Google Reader to be far superior and having learnt a few tricks from experienced users, I manage to keep up to date with my over 100 RSS subscriptions. If I did not use RSS feeds, there would be no way that I could keep up to date with the blogs, new alerts and websites that I like to follow.