Not that I’ve had many days in the last month that have allowed for this, but usually I have a routine when I wake up — get my first cup of coffee and sit down in front of Google Reader and scroll through all of the blogs and news sites that I’m following. I spend about half an hour or so doing this, maybe halfway into my second cup of coffee. By that time I’ve woken up enough to maybe start talking to other people. I also come back to it later in the day; here and there if I need a few minutes break during work… while I’m eating lunch…
Right now I have about 50 subscriptions. They run the gamut from friends blogs to sites like BoingBoing to a few photo blogs and some business-related things. I’ve had maybe as many as 100 but found that was a little too hard to handle so about a year ago went through and just unsubscribed from ones I found I was just “marking all as read” rather than actually reading. I like RSS readers. I don’t have to remember to go looking at my friend’s blogs every day (which is good because some of my friends are not so regular at blogging). I don’t have to go read something right away if someone announces “I Have Written a New Blog Post!” if I don’t have the time right then, because the Reader will store it for me so I won’t forget about it. I don’t have to maintain an ever-shifting/growing blogroll on the sidebar of my site (something that I used to do until about ten years ago or so when I first discovered Google Reader).
So imagine my surprise late last week when I logged on and got a pop-up that said Google Reader would be shut down in June! WTF?! Now how am I supposed to feel guilty about 1000+ unread posts?! AUGH!
I immediately started searching for a new Reader, and since the Interwebs were on fire with not a few people who had also woken up to the same news, I found two main types of posts. One type was telling people to get over it, that RSS was dead; the other type of post was listing the top x-number of other Readers that are out there. And the cries of outrage and thoughtful reviews of other readers made me think that no, RSS is not dead.
I’m not going to review all the Readers I looked over, there are already many posts out there and I don’t need to rehash. I will tell you what I was looking for, though. A simple Reader. An online librarian, if you will, who would compile and store for me. I don’t need bells and whistles. I don’t need a reader with a million social sharing abilities (there’s nothing wrong with my ability to copy, paste, and post if there’s something I want to recommend to someone). I don’t need to have it phone and tablet compatible (my phone is a good size, but not so big I like to read on it, and if I’m using my Nook I’m probably already reading a book). And I don’t want a black background with white letters because that shit gives me a headache.
In the end, after reading a bunch of reviews and looking over a bunch of things, I went with The Old Reader. When I signed up (it’s free, by the way, duh) the import was so backed up that I stopped trying to automagically import my Google Reader settings. They’ve since added server capabilities and are working on a new import system (a recent blog post said they’re also working on mobile apps, if that matters to you) and I like the clean, not flashy interface. After a day of checking back and seeing if import was working yet, I had an idea — why don’t I import blogs manually, slowly, over the next week? That will give me time to review each blog I’m importing, to see if it’s still something I want to read (sorry, famous knit bloggers, but I have dropped a few of you — I figure I have so many knitty friends that if one of you says something important, I’ll hear about it).
One thing that appealed to me about The Old Reader was the option to sort your feeds into folders (Google Reader just listed everything alphabetically, and if they had a folder feature I never found it). So now I’m working on importing feeds and categorizing them. I love this idea of categories – that way, if I only have a few minutes I can choose a specific group to catch up on in my limited time, and the rest can just wait there. For some reason that’s hard to do when you have 50+ things just in a list. ANYWAY. So far I’ve got General Bloggers, Business Blogs, Friends and Family, Photo Blogs, Writers and Writing, and Yarny Blogs. I still need to import some other things I’m backed up in reading (The Mary Sue, BoingBoing, io9) but I want to whittle down my unreads before moving them over. Hey, I have until the end of June!
Do you read my blog? Are you a lurker and I might not know you have a blog? Let me know if you do! I’ll add you to my new Old Reader!