Soon Google Reader will no longer be with us, and if you’re reading this after 1st July it will be gone entirely. If you weren’t aware of what Google Reader is/was or what it was used for then let me give you a brief overview of its purpose and functions (if you already knew and loved Google Reader then please feel free to skip down to the section named ‘Oh my god Google Reader is dead! What do I do now?!)
What's a Reader and why do I need one?
A reader is what's known as an RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) platform. The job of an RSS platform or ‘feed reader’ is to suck in, combine and then display all of your favourite sites content be they top stories, news articles or blog posts, in one easy to reach place. Although Google Reader was a great and useful resource ‘the powers that be’ have unfortunately decided to discontinue Google Reader, despite its loyal following due to “declining use”.
Using a reader is like having all your favourite sections of newspapers magazines and blogs all in one place and is a really awesome tool for all you social media bods and bloggers. Often it can be really difficult to constantly come up with fresh and exciting content for your readers ( if you need some help with content creation, why not give this a read), but with a well set feed reader, it helpS you find interesting content from a number of sources, that will allow you to share lots of interesting stuff with your followers and outreach to new people.
OH MY GOD GOOGLE READER IS DEAD! WHAT DO I DO NOW?!
If you loved Google Reader or the thought of using a feed reader has tickled your fancy, you might be thinking to yourself a 6 letter word that rhymes with hugger, “what do I without Google Reader?” in answer to your question I’d offer a quote from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy “DON’T PANIC!”
Although Google Reader has gone the way of MySpace, Bebo, and Yahoo search you shouldn't fear as (cue fanfare) Feedly is here. Feedly in my opinion is a great replacement for Google Reader and in some respects is a little bit better. The main appeal of Feedly for me is its clean and appealing UI (User Interface), everything seems well put together even the transition between feeds is smooth and pleasing to the eye. On top of this the way articles are formatted to appear on the page is really handy as you can save, mark or share an interesting post you've found in your feed by using the corresponding buttons at the top of the opened post summary.
Another great Feedly feature is that you can export all of your feeds from Google Reader if you were already using it, they’ve even show you how to. My Final nugget of Feedly goodness is that it has a mobile app. Both iOS and Android users can download the Feedly app and keep their ear to the internet while on the move.
While Feedly is my favourite, there are lots of different alternatives when it comes to feed readers and you might find a different one that you prefer. If you need a hand choosing, Dr. Peter J. Meyers of Moz.com is testing one every Thursday until 8th August, (but so far his favourite is Feedly.com too).
Image Credit: Jim Linwood