I’ve been using Google Reader as a personal procrastination tool for years now, so when the task came up to curate massive amounts of content, I figured GA would be the way to go about it. My google reader was at first a poorly organized collection of random feeds, so the first thing I did was set up and organize my account.
The real first thing I did was delete all my feeds in order to get a fresh install. Now that my Reader is empty, I can start looking for sources. On the left hand menu, there’s a “Browse for stuff” section under all items.
Then there’s a “Bundles from Google” section and a link to view all, so I went there.
Jackpot. Google has bundles of feeds for pretty much every topic you can imagine.
I just browsed through them and started subscribing with abandon. Anything that said internet, marketing, advertising, or social are now part of my subscribed feeds. I’ve got about 40 feeds now, all bundled into folders. The folders make it easy to find stories with a certain feed, but I don’t love how they’re setup, so I’ll be doing a little tweaking.
This is how my bundles look by default, but that’s not quite how I think about my content, so I’m going to take some time to create new folders and organize things how I like.
Essentially, this is just a matter of clicking the option arrow next to a feed and changing the folder to one that exists, or creating a new folder. I’m going to create a new folder because I want to organize my content in a way that’s natural to me.
This is my final feed configuration. Since Advertising News is a folder of aggregators and high volume creators, that folder tends to be full all the time and overpowers feeds with fewer posts per week. I put all the lower volume blogs in Advertising Thoughts so that I can take my time and read what my industry’s thought leaders have to say. General tech and inspiration have Twitter fodder feeds in case it’s a slow news day industry-wide. Art is because I like art and I need my ‘me’ time.
Ok, so now I have a lot of well-organized information coming in, but I still have to get through all of it. I’m a huge fan of keyboard shortcuts for just this reason. If you’re looking at a Reader story stream, whether it’s all items or a folder, you can press “J” on your keyboard to skip to the next story, or “K” to hop back a story. In my News folder, I’ll page through stories lightning quick, skimming headlines and looking for common keywords. I’m usually a bit more reserved on the Thoughts folder though. Shaving a few seconds jumping from story to story makes the difference between being able to skim 20 stories and 200 stories.
The last thing to do is to setup your ‘send to’, a huge timesaver for me. At the bottom of each story you’ll get a little menu, with the option to ‘send to’
By default, Google doesn’t send to any properties. But, by activaitng ‘send to’,pushing stories to your social networks can all be done without ever leaving reader. (That’s what I did for Argyle’s Hopper.)
There’s so much more you can do with Google Reader to make it even better. It’s a super powerful tool that will recommend new sources, give you reading trends, act as a bookmarking site, and more. Take some time from browsing to click around. I think you’ll be shocked at what you’ll find.