The importance of a good Feed Reader

Trying to keep up with a bunch of blogs and website can be a real hassle. Especially if there are important ones you really want to read (like family blogs) and can’t always remember the website. That’s where a Feed Reader comes in handy.

I use Google Reader because it’s just that good. It’s free and has a great web interface. I’ve also got an iPhone app that syncs with it (for free) so I can get my latest news on the go.

Here are a few tips for how to use a Feed Reader effectively:

  • Only subscribe to blogs and feeds you really want to read often. News feeds tend to send LOTS of articles every day and become quickly overwhelming.
  • Organize your feeds based on blogs, family, corporations and other news. This makes it easier to remember who you’re reading so you know when to skip through headlines (corporations) and when to slow down (family).
  • Check your feed reader, not their website. Checking the website gives them handy stats and lets them see who is coming. However, this can be overwhelming for the number of websites you have to check.
  • Get to know Keyboard Shortcuts. These really help with flying through the feeds.
  • Don’t keep everything just because it’s unread. If it was from a month ago, you probably don’t care that much. Keeping up with your reader could be a lot of work. Make it easier by only paying attention to what you REALLY want to know, such as the latest news. If it’s someone personal blog you really want to read up on, go through just that feed.
  • Don’t be afraid to unsubscribe. I made this mistake early on. I was subscribing to BBC, CNN and the New York Times news feeds. I had hundreds of unread articles. I couldn’t keep up. I didn’t want to remove them from my list because every 1 in 1,000 posts were interesting to me. The time it took to scan the 1,000 posts was not worth the benefit of finding the one good feed.

If you want more tips on how to use social media and free computer tricks like a Feed Reader, check out my friend Aaron Marshall’s blog. He’s created two companies (TechSMO and ChurchSMO) that exist to teach people how to use technology effectively. He’s REALLY good.

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