I have finally reduced my RSS feeds (for horse-related sites) to under 20 posts. Whew!
A few people mentioned after yesterday’s post that they were unsure about feed readers and how to go about setting them up. If you have more than 10 blogs that you visit daily or even weekly, I highly recommend that you set up some sort of reader so you will be notified of new posts and be able to read all of your blogs from one page. (As I’ve said before, I always visit the original site, but I tend to wait until I see that I have about 3 posts to read, or until I feel moved to comment on a post.)
I started out with Newsgator about 3 years ago, and I think it works well. However, I’m happier with Google Reader for a few reasons: I like the way it seamlessly integrates with my other Google applications; it’s very intuitive to use and organizes feeds in a way that makes sense to me (particularly as a Gmail user); and it has a wonderful feature that enables the user to share posts of note with other readers. I’ve made use of that feature by adding a link on the sidebar (Equus Palaverous Reader) that will take you to a list of posts I’ve found interesting as I peruse my feeds. I thought about simply using that page as my link round-up, but decided that I wanted to be able to share useful and interesting non-horse-related posts as well as continue to spotlight good blogging each week through a post dedicated to my favorite blog entries. It’s more work, but blogs are also rated by virtue of the amount of links to entries, so I want to add to that for the authors’ sake. (We all want to be loved and admired, right?)
If you visit the EqP Reader page, you will also be able to set up your own account, if you would like one. It’s very easy, and you can also set up a bookmarklet that will allow you to subscribe to a feed when you are visiting a site with one click. Please email me if this is difficult or makes no sense and I would be happy to help you. (Mrs. Mom, I mean you!)
On to the second Google application I think is mostly unknown (in non-geek circles) and worth checking out: Google Notebook. Google Notebook is the best thing since sliced bread, no doubt about it – at least if you are an avid web researcher and sorting through mountains of information. Google Notebook allows you to clip posts, photos, videos, links, and text that captures your attention and place it in a notebook where it can be easily organized and accessed. I use it for all kinds of stuff – blogs I’d like to check out but don’t have time to read right now, articles that spark an idea for a post, books I’d like to read or look up later, web hacks, tricks, and tips I want to use but don’t have the time to implement, etc., etc., etc.. Again, an added feature is that you can make any of your notebooks public, and I have done so with the notebook I use to gather ideas and information for this blog. You can find it on the sidebar as Equus Palaverous Notebook. If you glimpse through it, you will see many of the links and other stuff I used in setting up the blog and in my first posts, as well as topics I will come back to sooner or later. I can see a hundred applications for different notebooks based on the user’s network and interests, and it’s really worth checking out. Like everything else Google, it’s very easy to use.
Finally, I’d like to mention Google Books, and my personal web library (Equus Palaverous Library, in the sidebar). Nuzzling Muzzles mentioned that she has a whole stack of books to review, and here’s what I think is great about putting those reviews on a separate page and linking to them on your blog: When someone who knows nothing about the horse blogosphere looks up a horse-related book on Google Books, your review and link to your blog will be available to them. That means you have opened up a door of information for that reader, as well as increasing the visibility of your blog. Bingo! Everybody wins. I made my library with the idea that I would go back and review every single book in the list, which is a daunting task but one I intend to keep. I love reading reviews and often base my purchases on the research I do via Amazon and Google Books. Another personal library application that people love is LibraryThing, but it is geared more toward social networking and doesn’t have the benefit of leading a book searcher to your blog.
I’ve touched on these Web 2.0 applications and others on my tech page, but have yet to write about them in depth. That is coming soon, for those of you who are interested! Please note that I am in no way affiliated with Google – I’ve just found these particular applications to work very, very well.