Your very own News Feed!

Being the Internet-hungry netizens we are today, I can safely say that we are not unfamiliar with Facebook, and more importantly the Facebook News Feed. In fact, I dare say that it was the introduction of these News Feeds that revolutionized Facebook and pushed it up the rungs to the top of the social ladder today. The reason why we are so caught up with Facebook these days is because of the self-updating feature of the news feed- it gives you the information so “in your face” that it unknowingly piques your interest and leads you to check out your friend’s latest happenings simply by scrolling down the page.

During Dr. B’s class on Webwork, he introduced a feature on Google called Google Reader. This was something new to me, even though I use Gmail and Google Docs on a regular basis. If you use Gmail too, the “Reader” tab is just at the top of your inbox screen, along with “Documents” and “Photos” etc.

Essentially, Google Reader works just like the Facebook News Feed, showing you updates and new posts from your favourite sites, all customized to your preference.

I clicked “Reader” and this screen came up. I was a little lost at first, at how to navigate the page. But it wasn’t long before I started figuring out my way around. I started off by “Adding subscriptions” to my Reader, simply by copying and pasting the URL of a site I want to keep track of, into the space given.

I added the blog addresses of the other groups in my BusApps class, so that I can keep track of their weekly posts. This actually made it more convenient for me to read and comment on posts across various blogs, because they were all consolidated in one place! I just had to scroll down and see which blog title catches my eye, click it and read. Piece of cake! It made commenting much faster too. Here’s how it looks like:

To think that before I started using Google Reader, I had to open up separate tabs of the different blogs and scroll through laboriously to check for new posts. In contrast, Google Reader has really made my life much more effective!

Excited by this customizable “News Feed” of mine, I started exploring alternatives. I have an interest in Human Resources, so that’s the direction I took. When I did the blogpost about social recruiting, I found some insightful and engaging HR sites, and added those to my Reader. Now, I can stay updated about the newest insights in the HR field. Who knows, just like Dr B says, my future employer may well be one of the authors of these posts! Even if that doesn’t work out, the HR information I have garnered from these sites will no doubt stand me in good stead when pursuing a future career in this area.

Some exciting features of Google Reader:

–          Functions almost like an email inbox: Google Reader shows you which posts you have read and which you haven’t (highlighted in bold text), making it easier to track where you have left off. I can even select a certain post and “Mark as Unread” so I can remind myself to come back to it at a later time.

–          Sorting:

After adding so many links, I realised the need to have some order and structure. I clicked the “Manage subscriptions” button and it allowed me to create folders and put relevant links into those folders. It was a quick and easy way of helping me de-clutter and gain access to the links I want in a shorter time.

–         Read anywhere, anytime: Since Google Reader is internet based, this means I can access it anywhere as long as I have internet access. I even used it on my iphone to read the latest blogposts on-the-go.

This is why I like to call Google Reader my very own News Feed. No more laborious trawling through your favourite websites daily, when everything is all accessible with a scroll and a click!

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2 Responses to Your very own News Feed!

  1. fannysia says:

    Hello Iris! Thank you for the blog post about Google Reader! Like you, I didnt have the slightest idea what google reader does before I took this Bus Apps class. I am very amazed how at this innovation can bring us so much convenience in life. I especially like how you drew parallels to Facebook news feed! Indeed, Google Reader really works like FB news feed, bringing you the latest news you have subscribed to!

    You may also like to consider this new feature Google Reader has added!
    http://www.google.com/reader/play/#item/new/1

    It’s called Google Reader Play. and I believe this is Google’s step towards getting IPad users to use Google Reader as well. The interface is very smart and user-friendly, and it looks stylish & not boringg like the usual ‘search results’ we see! 🙂

  2. Iris Ng says:

    Hey fanny,

    thanks for the recommendation! Google Reader Play totally reminds me of the Apple ITunes interface actually, and it makes browsing through posts so much more fun and engaging!

    It works like the “Recommended Items” feed in Reader and I like how it keep tracks of the kind of posts you like and recommends similar ones.

    I agree with you that it could possibly be Google’s way of getting iPad users to use Google Reader, but I guess it’s just a very good way to set themselves apart from other RSS sites! 🙂

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