Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bloglover | Tips for keeping up with your reading

There are over 337 participants in Kendi's 30 for 30 challenge and I've subscribed to just about every one of them in my Google Reader (the bundle RSS feed really helped). This is on top of my hundreds of blog posts that I read each day, including non-challenge fashion blogs, local blogs, food blogs, design blogs, and social media/publishing/industry blogs. I thought today I would share with you all a little about how I keep up and some tools I use to keep track of everything I'm reading and commenting on.


Google Reader
Many of you may be familiar with this handy dandy tool. Here is what my Google Reader looks like tonight:



Some Google Reader features I live by:
  • Categories.  As you can see, I have quite a few categories. Some blogs are in more than one category. This make it easy for me to prioritize what to read first.  If I want to find a specific blog, I can just click on the plus sign to the left of a category for a list of all the blogs within.
  • Stars/keep as read.  I star items that I want to keep or consider for my weekly links.  While I will often catch up on blog reading on my lunch break, I don't want to abuse my work computer so I try to save posts I want to comment on for later.  That's where the "keep as read" button comes in handy (not shown in photo above).
  • Expanded and list settings (seen above in the blue bar, right aligned). There are some categories that I skim, like social media, where blog posts can often get repetitive, or sports, where I just want to get the headlines.  I can glance through those quickly in list mode (shown) and then mark all as read when I've read all I wanted to read.  The blogs I want to read, like fashion, remixers, or local blogs, I put on expand, which shows all the content that comes through the feed.  Some blogs do limit how much comes through on the RSS feed, presumably to entice people to actually click through to their site (confession: I usually don't).
  • Subscribe via address bar (see graphic below).  Did you know that when you're on a site with an RSS feed, a little shortcut appears that lets you add the feed to Reader without having to find the RSS URL and cutting and pasting?
  • Google Friend Connect/Following. When you subscribe to an RSS feed in Google, it doesn't show that you follow the blog on their Google Friend Connect (see the widget in my right column with all the thumbnails? That's the Google Friend Connect.) But if you're already following a blog through Google Friend Connect (or want to do that instead--I love letting other bloggers know that I'm a follower that way), it brings those subscriptions right to your Reader.  It's the last category titled "Blogs I'm Following."  Sometimes it takes a few refreshes for a new blog to show.
Another great reader that works with your Google subscriptions is feedly, a Firefox plugin (although it may also be available for other browsers) which also include social media sharing tools in its reading pane. You can choose from neat magazine like layouts there instead of just the lists like Google Reader.  They went through some design and functionality changes a while ago and I couldn't really keep up, so I went back to Google Reader and have stayed there.

You can also subscribe to blogs through other web services like Bloglovin', Networked Blogs, and Blog Catalog, although their selection may be slightly more limited than everything that has an RSS feed (but you can find the New Professional on all three).

coComment
This has got to be one of the niftiest tools, and for me it was like a dream come true (well, almost.  wish, more like it).  It is also a browser plugin (for IE and Firefox) that keeps track of your comments on most blog posts and platforms!  Check it out:

How cool is that?!?  It even has a little icon in your browser that changes when you have new unread comments.
so meta--you can see this post in progress

It doesn't work with Disqus-powered comment systems (which generally sends you responses to your comment via email anyway), and a few others, but it works well for all the Blogger and Wordpress-powered blogs I read. It's always nice to know if and how people respond.  And then if I see something I want to say in follow-up, it's easy to click right through back to the post and reply again!  You can also choose to stop tracking conversations if a post is getting too many comments or if you were just waiting for a reply and already got one.  There are some other features to coComment, but I haven't really explored it much past comment tracking.  The tracking is web-based and you have to have a log-in, but if you forget to log in and have already commented on a few blog posts, when you do log in (in the same web browsing session), it can usually detect any comments you've made and asks if you want to import them into your conversations.

Okay, so really I only had two tools to share, but these really help me stay organized and on top of my blog reading.

What tools have you found to help organize your online reading?

39 comments:

  1. i'm a huge blog reader myself and recently came upon your blog. google reader is the only way i can keep up with all the readings. great post!

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  2. Hey, I'm new to the whole blogger thing, so this really helps. Thanks!

    P.S. I'm also on the 30 for 30 - feel free to swing by and check my page out :)

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  3. WOW. So helpful. I was having so many problems keeping track as my reading list grew, you have no idea how wonderful this was to read! Thanks :)
    Nikki

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  4. Kick butt! I had no idea about EITHER of these tools!

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  5. This post was so helpful, I had no idea about the coComment, I'm going to try that out.

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  6. When I follow a blog I add it to my sidebar and have the last 25 updated blogs showing (all through Blogger). This lets me know when my favorites have an updated posts right from the comfort of my own blog.

    it also gives them a little promotion as well.

    ~L~
    www.AvidAccents.blogspot.com

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  7. FAB post...I had never heard of coComment, but I'm siging up now!

    ♥ V
    http://www.gritandglamour.com
    twitter: @gritandglamour

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  8. Never heard of coComment before, but now I know i NEED it! Thanks for this amazing post! Make sure to put it in the IFB links a la mode running for this week! - Katy

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  9. Thanks for the tips! I am always scatter brained with all my blogs I have to read and the comments I have to respond to!

    www.clothedmuch.com

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  10. this is an awesome post! I'm starting to lose my mind with everything to keep track of :) lovely blog!

    xoxo

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  11. Glad this was helpful! Do share if you find any other cool tools!

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  12. I use my google reader for most of my reading, but bloglovin' helps when their RSS feeds annoy me. LOL. But coComment is definitely new tool I have to start using. Great tips! =)

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  13. The Comment tool is awesome. I'm overwhelmed by my Google Reader everyday. Sigh...

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  14. Kendi's challenge has seriously taken over my google reader. I love the starring feature, and can star blogs that I like when I'm reading via iphone, then when I'm on my laptop I can go into Google Reader and place those into a separate "30x30 likes" folder :)

    I'll have to look into the commenting tool!

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  15. I like that commenting tip. I like Disqus because people know when they have a response to something they wrote. I never like having to go back multiple times to see if someone responded to something I said. Good tip.

    The Auspicious Life
    I hope my blog made your cut ;) I've added you to my rotation, of course.

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  16. Thank ladies!

    @ kimmie - I haven't really organized my starred items yet but should! Great idea!

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  17. I do many of the things you mentioned, however you have given me a few more ideas for tools.. thanks so much. I think Google Reader is the cats meow!! Great post, thanks for taking the time to post this and I will certainly circulate on my blog as well... cheers,Jodi

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  18. i love my google reader, but have never delved into some of the features that you mentioned! can't wait to organize it a bit more for easier reading. and this post was my first "starred" item! thanks for the tips!
    -kitty
    http://kittyclotheshorse.blogspot.com

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  19. Thanks, Kitty--glad this could help!

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  20. I realize this is an older post, but these are really great tips!

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  21. Oooh, that coComment site sounds AMAZING! I've been doing a challenge this month to try and leave more thoughtful comments (and reach a goal), but it's hard keeping track of them... that may be worth checking out.

    I live by my Google Stars! And the share function....

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  22. @puttogethergirl - glad you like them!

    @ashe mischief - it definitely does the job...I searched high and low for a good comment tracker and this is the best I've found.

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  23. so helpful, dear Angeline. I was just wondering: now why would I use Google Reader? I do bloglovin' but it's good to know there are other options (bloglovin cancels my translate feature, so reading blogs in other languages isn't as easy)

    And that co comment thingy-majiggy: sounds like a godsend.

    I've just realized that you are quite the regular on IFB links ala Mode. Quality stuff, I hope you're proud.

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  24. Great post!!!
    Love how you make it so easy to understand Google Reader!
    Found you on Links. :) Have a great day X

    http://ticklemechiic.blogspot.com/

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  25. Found your blog/this post through the IFB Links a la Mode.
    SO ironic that you posted on this this week- I said to one of my friends a few days ago that I wished I could see all the comments I've ever written on blogs. And now, I CAN! :)

    Thank youu
    XXXO
    M

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  26. @ bella - Google Reader works well for me because it integrates with my Google Friend Connect subscriptions, and I'll admit I'm partial to Google's simple and easy user interface. I've been using it for several years now, and the majority of my reading is non-fashion blogs, which I'm not sure are even available on bloglovin (probably, but haven't been motivated enough to check).

    @ jody - Thanks for visiting, and glad I could help!

    @ marissa - SERIOUSLY! It was always a pet peeve on mine and I am so glad I found cocomment.

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  27. Thank you so much for this post! It's so hard for me to keep up with all the blog readings as I follow so many blogs it's unbelievable! I just installed coComment :)

    XoXo
    Fiamma

    http://fashion-thrill.blogspot.com/

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  28. Thanks for this info. I've been looking for a way to keep up with my blog reading.

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  29. I just downloaded coComment, it sounds really useful!

    My top tip for managing your reading would be don't be afraid to stop following a blog. I've previously kept following blogs for months after they had stopped interesting me, just out of a sense of loyalty, when actually these blogs were fairly large and wouldn't have noticed my absence anyway. This way, you free up time for the blogs that you really do want to read. I also set my reader to only show blog posts from the past week, so if I've been away or really busy for a while and haven't read posts within a week then I don't see them any more. It stops the feeling that I have to catch up on all of these blogs, which is overwhelming when there are so many.

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  30. @ fiamma and bilotecouture - glad I could help!

    @ Nicola - Great tip! I agree--I like to purge my subscriptions every other month or so to keep my reading relevant and interesting to me. I also like your tip on only keeping more recent posts.

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  31. I loved Google Reader but I hadn't heard about Cocomment. I get the feeling it is really going to help me out.
    @ Nicola I always somehow feel guilty about no longer following a blog for some reason. It's taken me a while to get over that feeling.I always force myself into reading stuff that no longer interests me.

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  32. Awesome post!! I am actually catching up with your blog via Google Reader - I love that I don't have to remember where I left off, even after busy months like I've had where I don't get to read much! :) Also I'm going to try out coComment, I totally agree that was a need!!

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  33. @ sara - yes, that is definitely a perk w/ Google Reader! So far Cocomment is the only comment tracking tool I know of, but hopefully more options will come out soon.

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  34. can we just talk about how much easier this has made my (blog-reading) life? much thanks!
    -kitty
    http://kittyclotheshorse.blogspot.com

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  35. @ kitty - woohoo! It makes me so happy to hear that!

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  36. hi
    im a student from up and we have a report about "tips for new professionals". i just want to ask if i can interview you, and you know, get some tips on how to adapt in workplaces.:)

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  37. @ anonymous - would be glad to. Please email me at thenewprofessionalblog @gmail.com.

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