~Contributed by Stacey Alexander, Social Media Intern, SAS~
I went to a Lunch-n-Learn a couple weeks ago on getting the most out of Google Reader and it’s applications. It was so informative, I was inspired to turn in my iGoogle dashboard for a Reader. Below is a recap of the discussion.
Gettin’ Smart – Definitions and value proposition
What is Google Reader? “A tool for gathering, reading and sharing interesting blogs and sites you read on the web.” Google Reader uses RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds from these sites and blogs to bring you the most current and up-to-date posts. By subscribing to a site’s RSS feed on your reader, you will automatically be notified when new entries become available.
What’s in it for you? “Subscribing to feeds and viewing them on a reader makes it possible to review a large amount of content quickly, easily and when you want it.” It’s all about time management. You can further benefit from Google Reader by using these tools:
- Google Alerts – be instantly alerted to the content that you care about
- Blog search – find blogs related to any particular topic
- Keyword search – identify keywords used in Google search queries related to topics of interest
Gettin’ Started – Logging in, setting up and looking around
To sign up for Google Reader—or any Google application—you need to have a Google account. You can create this account with any email address. Accept terms and conditions, and click “create account”. It’s that easy. If you already have a Google account, simply sign in.
Google has a quick tour of their Reader on their site, but I’ll highlight some of it here.
- Keep track of your favorite websites: Google Reader can help you stay up to date, simplify your reading experience and discover new content.
- Share with your friends: Let’s you recommend articles to your friends, share with just one click and spice up your site.
- Read anytime, anywhere: You can at Google Reader to iGoogle, read on the go with your mobile, and access it on any computer.
Each entry on your reader will identify the site it came from and include the first few lines of the article so you can get a feel for whether you want to read it. You can star, share with a note, and keep unread any item you find interesting.
Gettin’ Feeds – Using resources to find relevant feeds/blogs
You can set up feeds through several different resources including
- Google Reader itself: You can use the Add Subscription button to search topics or find a feed for a URL.
- Google Blog Search: Search for blogs, visit blog, and look for “RSS feed” or the orange box (like the picture on this post). Copy the URL and paste it into the Add Subscription box in Google Reader.
- Twitter Search: Search for topics on Twitter, click “Feed for this query” in the upper right corner, and again copy the URL to paste in the Add Subscription box in Google Reader.
- Google Alerts: Enter search terms, select “Deliver to: Feed”, click “Create Alert”, and then click “View in Google Reader”.
- YouTube: Go to a YouTube RSS Generator, then enter search terms and click “Go!” Again, copy the URL to paste in the Add Subscription box in Google Reader.
Gettin’ Organized – Using folders and tags; different approaches
- Folders: Folders allow you to organize and sort your subscriptions by any labels you want. Subscriptions can go in more than one folder at the same time, but don’t have to be in any at all.
- Tags: Another way to organize your Reader is by tagging posts with terms that will link them together. For example, you could tag your favorite posts with “favs” and then access them all at once by that tag.
There are many more things you can do with Google Reader, but these steps will get you started and on your way to reading blog posts most efficiently. Just don’t forget to do your work too.
Photo by dullhunk