Dealing With Blog Overload (An Ode to Google Reader)

I would say that my eyes were opened to the incredible world of educators communicating online about a year ago, when I started to follow some edu-rock stars like Eric Sheninger, Steven Anderson, George Couros, and our own Dr. Eliezer Jones on Twitter. These follows quickly led to more people, and even more, turning into a full blown Personal Learning Network (PLN). Many of the tweets included links to blog posts, some the personal blogs of educators, and others group blogs like Connected Principals. I found many informative, insightful, and just plain inspirational blog posts. I would often find myself with 15 or 20 tabs open in my web browser, filled with great blog posts that I wanted to read “when I have a second.”

It was around this time that I started seriously using Google Reader. Google Reader is an RSS reader. As always, the good folks at Common Craft can explain RSS better than I can:

RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication, and basically, it is a way for getting web content sent to you, rather than you going all over the web to find it. To use Google Reader, you first need a Google account. If you have a Gmail account, congrats! You are good to go. Within Gmail, or any other Google Service, you can click on the Reader tab on the top left, or go to this link: www.google.com/reader. You will see a “Home” screen in the middle of the page. This is where the web content goes. On the left side is the menu where the web sites or blogs you subscribe to will go. To add a new blog, click on the “Add a subscription” button on the top left of the page. Go to the blog you want to subscribe to, and search for some sort of “subscribe” or “RSS” link. You can then paste that link into the window that opens when you press the subscriptions button. You can even simply enter a blog address into the subscription box, and Google does all the messy work for you.

After you get set up, voila! The blog posts come to you! When you open your Google Reader later, you should see new blog posts, organized by site. You can even categorize the blogs and web sites you follow, any way you want. There are other RSS readers around as well, and a simple Google search will turn them up. But as usual, Google does a great job here, in my opinion. I have found that a using tool like Google Reader, plus an online bookmark service like Diigo or Delicious (for a different post), has made my blog browsing much easier and more organized.

Enjoy!

P.S. If you are really lazy, just watch this video 😉

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