Thursday, September 10, 2009

How I use Google Reader

To feed my mental consumption, I use Google Reader pretty heavily. I have about 75 subscriptions of various weight, from 100s of posts per day to one or two posts per year. As such, I have to take care in organizing them to prevent the low-volume high-significance posts like personal friends' blogs from getting lost among the high-volume low-significance posts like Slickdeals or Engadget.

Most obviously, I group my submissions by similar topic and similar volume. My 'Nerd' group and my 'slickdeals' group can put out close to the same volume of posts. The difference is I keep up with the Nerd group pretty consistently, whereas the slickdeals I let build and build and only if I'm really bored do I start going through it. The slickdeals group is still useful to me, because I can use google reader's search to find a cheap price on, say, a 16GB thumb drive real fast.

'Consume' is something of a catch all that blends my interests in cooking, drinking, Ikea, design, and sandwiches. Generally I browse these subscription by subscription depending on what my interest is that day.

Likewise, 'People' is a huge catch all, but it's more centered around personalities like cartoonists, bands, bards, youtube, and other random bullshit.

'Blogs I'm following' is interesting because it actually comes from any blogs you have followed on Blogspot/Blogger. This was real useful to me when my friend Lisa had a password protected site while she was in the Peace Corps, and Google Reader was able to forward my identity into Blogger. It's not strictly necessary to use this, but it can be handy in a pinch.

Finally, the tags I have at the bottom I use for long term storage of posts. Basically, if I find a smart recipe buried in the middle of a cooking blog, I can tag it with my own personal tag, and use that as a quick reference whenever I need it. As such, my tags contain a running collection of things I found particularly interesting on the Internet.

Speaking of such, be sure to make use of the Note in Reader bookmarklet. Have that in your browser, and you can share whatever the new and clever meme of the moment with everybody else just by clicking it.

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