Who needs Google Reader anyway?

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Other than the now defunct Google Reader, I had never heard of a blog reader service until a couple of weeks ago when my School Librarianship instructor at Illinois State University required me to sign up for one. I’ve been introduced to a whole new world! 

In my research, the three names that came to the surface most frequently—primarily through bloggers but also a Time magazine article—were Feedly, The Old Reader, and Digg Reader. In every case, the headline for these stories read something like, “10 Best Alternatives to Google Reader,” which tells me Google Reader really made an impression on the public. It’s too bad I never got to experience it for myself.

I decided on Feedly after reading from several sources about its pleasant interface (one writer referred to it as “hipster”) and its compatibility with multiple devices, including iOS. It’s also free! Digg Reader came in a close second, but I was skeptical after one article placed pressure on the company by questioning its ability to be the next, and better, Google Reader.

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I signed up for Feedly using my Facebook account, which made that process effortless. Searching for content based on titles or topic was simple, too. I started three “collections” to organize my content: Education News, Educational Technology, and School Libraries. I’m following two or three blogs in each Collection. Feedly is nice because it allows you to change the appearance of how your content is organized based on personal preference. I’m a visual person so I’m using the “magazine” view, which allows me to see headlines, a summary of the article, and a thumbnail image. The “titles only” option is also very clean, but I appreciate pictures. The upgraded version of Feedly offers even more features for sharing with social media; however, I’m going to start slow to see if that’s something I’d be interested in pursuing.

This is a useful tool that would benefit teachers searching for a way to organize their professional and personal reading. We live in a busy world filled with information. A content aggregator like Feedly helps simplify life a bit. Rather than searching all over the web for articles of interest, they are pushed to me in my Feedly account on my computer or my phone app. The only question I have for myself is, will I make time in my day or week to visit my Feedly account? If so, when? My preliminary answer: Thank goodness for smart phones, which help you to fill those five- or ten-minute gaps in your day. Instead of checking out Facebook during one of those gaps, check out Feedly.

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