19 March 2013

Non-journalists use Google Reader, too

One point I keep reading in the articles about Google Reader shutting down is that it is probably a good idea because only journalists were using it, anyway. The idea is that regular folks like me would rather get our news through social networks by reading articles that our friends share and promote. It may be true that many of us get our news that way, but I never thought of Google Reader as a newsreader.

I use Google Reader to keep up with updates to my favorite blogs. The authors of these blogs aren't writing news articles. They are sharing stories about their kids or the books they read or the latest knitting projects they completed. There are other regular folk like me who used Google Reader the same way. I've already heard from two friends in the week since the announcement, asking me what app or website I was planning to export my feeds to.

Because journalists think that only other journalists will miss Google Reader, the suggestions they have been giving in their articles have not necessarily matched the way my friends and I use the service. I've been seeing a lot of recommendations for magazine-style apps like Flipboard and Google Currents. While both of those apps are pretty and a fun way to browse my Twitter and Facebook feeds, as well as news feeds like USA Today and All Things D, they don't feel like an efficient way to keep up on blogs.

I have Flipboard installed on my iPad now. It is a thing of beauty and I get a kick out of seeing my friends' photos blown up as if they are on a magazine cover. However, as I am flipping through the app, I always feel as though I am missing some people's posts. For my blogs, I would prefer a simple list of read and unread posts that I can drill down through. Through a little experimentation, I have found that several of the pretty magazine-style readers can be tweaked to give me a list. Some of them even make it easy to see what posts have already been read. So, with a little work, we non-journalists can still have something of the blog-reading experience we want.


Allyson said...

I've switched over to The Old Reader for my blog reading (tho I don't know that it has any mobile options). The interface is much the same as google reader. It has been a bit slow at times, but I'm guessing they've had a major influx of new users, so I'm hoping it'll improve as they catch up!

Dani S said...

I was considering The Old Reader, Allyson, but then I read on their blog that they are going to start charging a subscription fee. I really want to stick with a free option, but I think that The Old Reader is a good choice for those who are willing to pay.