I love Google Reader! Do you realize the uses for Google Reader? I love to use it with Twitter and HootSuite widget. It’s a great way to have all my tools nicely polished and ready to go at a moment’s tweet.
Here is part of how I organize my feed subscriptions in my Google Reader:
Choose the blog that you want to follow and visit the web address. Choose a blog that has an RSS feed option. There are other ways of subscribing when there is no RSS feed, but for simplicity purposes, in this exercise, let’s choose one that has that little orange box 😉
Before we subscribe to the feed, let’s grab the Twitter account, if available. If you have found a blog with an RSS feed, but not a Twitter link, that is fine, too. Go ahead and subscribe! However, for the integration between RSS and Twitter, it is helpful if they have both. So, find the Twitter link and click on it. (Better yet, right-click and open in new tab or window.)
Ok, on the Twitter page, find the username. Either write it down, or, better yet, copy (or re-type) and paste into a document for use in the step, below.
Go back to the blog page (from step 1, above). It is either in another browser window/tab, or use the back button on the Twitter page, if you were in the same window. Click on the RSS link. On most pages I have found that it has the universal icon, as shown to the left, here. Sometimes it may only be text. Sometimes there is only an icon and no text. Also check at the very bottom of the page, as it is sometimes hiding there. Remember: It probably will not look exactly like the one you see here.
Ok, ready to subscribe? If you haven’t already done so, click on the RSS icon found in step 4, above. Depending on how the feed is set up, you may or may not see something like this, to the right, where it asks you which feed you want to use. In my case, I am using the Google apps, so I would choose Google. You may be asked at that point, or the next, to login. Go ahead and do so. If you do not already have a Gmail account and would like to use the Google app(s), create one now.
When using the Google app, Google will ask you if you want to add the feed to your home page or the Reader. I choose the Reader, which is what we are using for this exercise. Feel free to add to home page, if you like, but it would be better to do it separately from this exercise.
Now, let’s specify some settings in your Google Reader subscription…the fun part. I set up folders with the name of MY Twitter account. You will see an example of one of my Google Reader folders in the image to the right (twitter_socialwebcafe). If you have not already done so, go ahead and create a Google Reader folder. If you HAVE already done so, select that folder, now, under the feed settings so that your newly subscribe blog feed will show up in that folder.
Now, another setting change. Choose the “rename subscription” option in the feed settings.
Remember the Twitter user name we obtained in step 3, above? Paste (or type) that user name into the first part of the subscription name. “Why,” you ask? In this way, as you are using your Google Reader to check out the newest blog entries in this particular folder (i.e. twitter_socialwebcafe), you can visit the blog and tweet it (i.e. using HootSuite add-on) right away and mention the author so that he or she knows you gave him or her a recommendation!
Are there easier ways to do this? Absolutely! But, for those cases where the information is not readily available on the blogger web site, you will be prepared, with your own tools. You are ready for any situation! Besides, this makes it easier when trying to find those tools on the tiny iPhone screen while driving (uh, correction, riding!) down the road….