Improve your digital reading experience

Using an RSS reader to save time and read more

Let’s talk techie.

Time constraints pose the biggest roadblock to satisfying the appetite of a ravenous reader. The quicker you can Improve-your-digital-reading-experienceaccess the books, blogs, stories and news that move you, the more time you have to digest and enjoy them. While I always have a book/Kindle on my nightstand, I consume a great number of words per week via blog and RSS feed, so having a convenient and feature-rich feed reader is a critical appliance in my world. The demise of Google Reader caught many by surprise, primarily because its utilization was so high. It’s ubiquity, however, belied its pedestrian presentation and functionality. Reader’s advantage was the Google platform itself, the seamless integration it offered within the Google ecosystem.

As successors courted the jilted masses, a few leaders emerged. I gravitated toward the intuitive and elegant interface of Feedly. Four months after Reader’s discontinuation, I’m convinced I picked the right horse. I am able to organize all of the blogs and feeds I follow by category, engage with and share posts via social media and access all of my data on the go through a beautifully designed mobile app.

One of my favorite original features, was a mini toolbar, that detected an RSS feed on any webpage and allowed for one-click subscriptions to my Feedly reader. That was a time-saver, but it was short lived. The toolbar has vanished, and although it is supposed to return, I’m not holding my breath.

The result is that it became decidedly inconvenient to subscribe to new blogs, as it required copying and pasting URLs and navigating away from the page I was reading to access the Feedly Web interface. Now, the point of all of this isn’t to offer a critical review of RSS technology. But as a blogger, I realized (wiping beads of perspiration from brow), that if I am experiencing these frustrations, so to might visitors to my blog. All writers face overwhelming competition for readers’ time. If a barrier exists to your content, you had better destroy the barrier.

So I offer a virtual Mjolnir, with the power to annihilate such obstacles to convenient reads. With so many former Reader users now migrated to Feedly, there is a good chance this will be of use to you. (Feel free to test it on jeremypodolski.com first!)

These are the hacks I have confirmed will do the trick:

For Chrome users

  1. Visit the Chrome Web Store and download the RSS subscription extension by Google.

  2. When using the button, you are able to select a service. Click “manage” and you will see the existing services. Copy the URL “http://cloud.feedly.com/#subscription%2Ffeed%2F%s” to add Feedly as a choice and set it as the default.

For Firefox users

  1. Download the RSS Handler for Feedly from the Mozilla Add-Ons library.

  2. Set to “always use” Feedly to make it your default subscription choice.

For Internet Explorer users

  1. Start using Chrome or Firefox

  2. (Sorry, IE has just never been friendly to dedicated feed handlers beyond its built-in functionality).

Hopefully, with a few minutes invested in a couple of technological tweaks, you’ll be able to spend more time with what’s really important: Reading, reading and reading.

Do you have a favorite feed reader, now that Google Reader is gone? Have you picked up any tips or tricks that add convenience or pleasure to your digital media experience. Let me know in the comments or tweet me @jeremypodolski.

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