Information moves much more quickly in today’s world. Years ago, professionals could rely solely on trade journals and newspapers brought to their home or office. But today there is a higher volume of information, coming more quickly and surrounded by a LOT of noise. How do you weed out the bad information? And how do you keep abreast of news in your specific field?
What Is A Feed Reader?
The one tool that has been invaluable to me, no matter what position I’ve been in, is the feed reader. I started off several years ago with Google Reader (RIP dear friend). Feed readers allow you to track updates to your favorite websites, blogs, videos, and sometimes podcasts in one location. This means no more bouncing from one site to another to read the latest articles. It’s based on RSS (Really Simple Syndication) that sends updates to your reader automatically.
Why Do You Need A Feed Reader?
Look, I love the New York Times. No judgement on other news sources, but it’s my favorite. But sometimes, I don’t have the time to read it like I probably should. My feed reader allows me to skim over article titles that I don’t care about as much to get to the things I NEED to know. And it aggregates other sites’ content the same way; I can focus on the topics that I want to read and discard the rest.
And one key benefit to my feed reader is that I can curate content for my social media accounts. I stay in the “know” about topics that I care about, and can share those with others to create conversations on Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In.
Most Popular Feed Readers Today
There are several options today (even though I still miss Google Reader). By far, the most popular and the one that I use right now is Feedly. It’s a freemium model (free basic features with the option to pay for premium additions). Besides adding your favorite sites, Feedly offers shared collections where you can find new content sources. My favorite part is how easily it connects to 3rd party apps like Twitter and Pocket. If you love it enough, you can go pro for $5.41 a month.
NewsBlur is another freemium feed reader. It’s biggest hangup seems to be that full text articles are ONLY available on the premium version. It will allow you to segregate content with folders, and add up to 64 sites on the free version. And a neat addition is that NewsBlur shows you content in the original site, like the author intended.
New to me is the Inoreader, which I am impressed with. You can add unlimited subscriptions, save pages for later within it, and has a discovery mode for new content. And, if you are a podcast listener, it has the ability to follow you favorites like This American Life or Serial.
A pay only reader that caught my eye was Feedbin at $3 a month. It also syncs to many 3rd party apps, but it also allows you to fully customize your font and design. This gives you a feeling of your own personal magazine.
And if you are a Twitter aficionado, you may like Selfoss. It is software based (the others you can pull up on your web browser), but it is open-source and free. It not only uses RSS for blogs and websites, but can also manage your tweets.
Whatever feed reader you decide on, it will be a huge time saver for you. By collecting content in one place, you quickly get a breadth and depth of new content that just isn’t easily accessed any other way. So gather your favorite sites, sign up, and get to reading!