Linda Gartz from The Family Archaeologist asked me yesterday how I manage to find the time to manage and read so many blogs. She was reading my mind as I was preparing this very blog post for today.
I decided to write this post because I finally feel I have a few tools and habits that help keep me from being overwhelmed. Over the next couple of posts on Tuesday’s Tips, I will share those tools with you.
With over 2000 genealogy blogs on the internet it does seem like an overwhelming task. First, I certainly don’t check in on 2000 genealogy blogs weekly and I certainly read more blogs then just genealogy blogs....everything from genealogy, writing, memoir writing, self-publishing, recipes, book blogs, motivational blogs.etc. etc.
The majority of the blogs that I follow come through my Google Reader. I read blogs that interest me first, my theory is if they peak my interest than I hope my readers will be interested as well. I try to stick to what the Armchair Genealogist represents, internet genealogy, how to tips, Irish genealogy and of course writing your family history and then some good recipes just to add a little spice.
With regards to new blogs, I try to read a couple of new genealogy blogs each week. For the most part, I rely on Thomas’ list at Geneabloggers, but occasionally I stumble across one on my own. (I will address how I find new avenues of reading next week).
New blogs are important to me. First, because it wasn’t so long ago I was one of those blogs and I know how much it means to be given the exposure on Geneabloggers and to get your first comments. Therefore, each week try I visit a couple of new genealogy blogs and leave a comment, it’s my way of paying it forward.
Now, I would like to get back to Google Reader. I took some time to really learn what Google Reader could do for me rather than just allowing it to be a dumping ground for RSS feeds as I allowed it to be for some time.
I visit my Google Reader daily, usually in the morning after checking my email, and then again in the evening after dinner. I take about 15 minutes each time. I use this time mostly to star and share and tag as they come in. Sometimes I read, others are starred to be read later when I have more time.
You can also add Google Reader to your phone. If you’re the kind of person who finds yourself on the go a lot with opportunities throughout the day like on public transit or waiting for appointments. you can utilize your time reading blogs in Google Reader. I personally do not use this feature.
In Google Reader, I use several elements to maximize the most of my Google Reader experience.
I use the starred items to highlight the feeds that have sparked my interest by title alone. This allows me to easily identify them later when I have time to read them if I can’t get to them right away.
Once I have read a feed that I feel is something others might enjoy, I put them in my Shared File, you view them here. Sometimes I make a quick summary in notes, for both my followers and myself. You can also star items in your Shared File.
At the bottom of the posts, I use some of the other options as well. For instance if I like a post in my Google Reader I use the ‘Like’ button. This sends a message to Google Reader and the Recommendations File. The Recommendations File takes into account your past reading behaviour including liking and starring, and global signals and creates a list of suggestions for you to check out in the Recommendations File. This process is completely automated and anonymous.
You can also add tags, which provide a way for you to organize items of interest. I can tag a post such as Irish genealogy, writing family history etc. You can find your tags in your subscriptions and all the posts you marked with that particular tag fall neatly under the tag.
There are a few goodies, which can help you maximize your Google Reader.
The 'Note in Reader' bookmark, which you can simply drag to your bookmarks bar, allows you when on a web page and have found something you want to share, to easily click the Note to Reader icon. It will instantly be deposited in to your shared items in Reader.
If you stumble across a webpage you want keep track of, you can easily subscribe with the 'Subscribe' bookmark icon, which you can also add to your bookmarks bar.
You can add these items by going to 'managing your subscriptions'; you’ll find them under Goodies.
By spending just few minutes getting to know your Google Reader you can quickly implement numerous features, spending more time reading your blogs and less time keeping track of them.