How I use Google Reader – Stay N Alive

How I use Google Reader

I’ve been on the Google Reader band wagon for a long time now. I currently subscribe to about 150 feeds, and I read or skim over probably near 1,000 or more feed items a day. Reading my feeds is how I stay up on the latest and greatest, and how I am able to give the best advice to my clients. Instead of me going to news, now the news comes to me, which, despite the amount of news I read in a day, has made me actually more productive.

Google Reader has recently added a friends feature. Now, all those on your GMail or Google Talk contact lists that use Google Reader will appear in a Friends list to the left of Google Reader. You can choose to turn your friends’ feeds on or off in the settings (upper-right of Reader), and even invite more friends to begin using Google Reader. As your friends “share” the feed items that they like, you also get to see what they are sharing. This feature in effect has actually started bringing me even more news. It will be interesting to see the SEO effects of this as people no longer subscribe to blogs, but rather rely on their friends sharing their favorite blogs with you. Personally, I think it will improve the odds, as now more people will see your blog due to the viral nature of this system, and more people in result will be persuaded to subscribe to your blog – this time through Google, improving the SEO chances of you appearing in Google personalized results for that individual.

Here’s how I use Google Reader. Bloggers may want to take note, as this could provide some tips as to how to further improve your posts to fit with the power Feed readers out there.:

  • Skim, Skim, Skim! – There’s no way I would get through all 1,000+ of my feed items if I read every single one of them. I skim over the headlines, and sometimes the content, then move onto the next item. Only if the article is important to me do I read the article in detail.
  • Learn the Shortcuts – There are 3 or 4 shortcut keys that are essential for me. I use the ‘j’ key to open the next item and mark it as read. I use the ‘k’ key to move back to the previous item. I use the ‘shift-s’ key combination to share the item I’m reading if I think those that are friends with me might be interested. I use the ‘s’ key to start items I want to “bookmark” for later – this is Google Reader’s equivalent to I then use the ‘r’ key to refresh the list I’m on – I like to click on the link “x new items” and read through those. Then, when I hit ‘r’ to refresh, it only shows me the new items I haven’t read yet.
  • Add as many friends as you can – The more friends you have, the more information you receive. If a friend isn’t providing productive feeds, then perhaps you can take them off, but besides that, information is good!
  • Stay on top of your feeds – if you don’t check them several times throughout the day, they will build up, and you’ll be stuck spending an hour or two in the middle of the night catching up. I like to use my cell phone when I’m away from my computer to go through my feeds. Google has excellent mobile tools, and Reader is no exception.
  • Don’t use iGoogle – I was using this for awhile, and realized a) I couldn’t use the shortcuts, and b) I couldn’t utilize the sharing or starring features. Perhaps if they improve it I’ll go back.

Those are the strategies I use to read through my feeds in Google Reader. What strategies do you use? Please add me as a friend – you can either add me as a contact in Google Talk, or shoot me an e-mail and you’ll automatically be added to my Google Reader Friends. jessestay at gmail dot com

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