Keeping up with blogs

How do you manage your blog reading?There are so many great genealogy blogs out there. (I’m flattered that you’re reading this one when you have so many choices!) I am delighted to be part of the GeneaBloggers community, which points me to new and existing genealogy blogs, but I know I underutilize it.

Today I’m pondering how I might do a better job of (a) finding genealogy blogs to read; (b) remembering to read them and (c) finding the time to do so.

So I thought I’d turn to my readers. You guys are such a great source of information. Would you mind telling me how you organize your genealogy blog reading? Do you use RSS feeds and, if so, what platform do you use to read them?I’ve been thinking I could create a Flipboard of favorite blogs but I haven’t even explored it.

I think this is one of those situations where I’m overwhelmed by options and don’t know how to go about researching it without it turning into a huge time suck.

Any advice is much appreciated! I’ll do a follow-up post with the results of this little poll so we can all benefit. (I’d also love to hear what your five favorite genealogy blogs are!)

Thank you!!

Photo by Shardayyy via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.

Comments

  1. I use Netvibes to organize my genealogy blogs. I did use iGoogle but when that went away I switched to Netvibes. It works for me! I have a tab for the genealogy blogs, one for Mac related blogs and another one (under utilized) is Genealogy To-Do. The latter one I set up so that if I am in the midst of looking at records and I need to stop, I can bookmark where I stopped and add a note. It’s a new tab so I haven’t used it much but I could… Ha! ;-)
    My genealogy blogs I follow are: Eastman’s Online, Genetic Genealogist, The Legal Genealogist, How to DNA, Family History Daily, fold3, 4YourFamilyStory, Practical Archivist, Genealogy Insider, Mocavo, FamilySearch, Ancestry. The How to DNA one is one that looks interesting but I need more time to read it and so far I haven’t found the time read even one entry. Another blog that you might be interested in that also ties in with Evernote is Jamie Todd Rubin, Going Paperless. That is another blog that is of interest to me but I have read very little of it because it requires more time. In Evernote I subscribe to his notebook-he’s sharing it with me I guess is the more appropriate term. I will be interested to read what others use to read blogs and which ones!

  2. Just wanted to mention that Thomas MacEntee and Lisa Alzo are having a BLOGGER’S Boot Camp online next Saturday ( Aug. 16th)

    • Thanks, Magda! I was aware of that (I’m a big fan of Thomas and Lisa’s bootcamp), but unfortunately have a conflict. I appreciate your mentioning it, though!

  3. Great topic Janine! I am using Feedly to track all 3,000+ blogs that encompass the members of GeneaBloggers.com. I also have them categorized so I can jump right to UK Genealogy or Technology – but hey, I’m very OCD. Feedly works for me and I can read 500 blog posts a day throughout the day. There are also lots of bells and whistles allowing you to share blog posts etc. Note: I am still using the FREE version of Feedly.

    Also, thanks to Magda for mentioning the Blogger Bootcamp coming up in less than two weeks! http://hackgenealogy.com/blogger-boot-camp-16-august-2014/

    • 500 daily blogs posts. Wow, Thomas! If you can do that with Feedly, I’d sure better check it out. Thanks so much for contributing. Hope to meet you on Saturday at the Southern Illinois Genealogical Society’s conference!

  4. John Sparrow says:

    Hi Janine. I like to find out about methods, tips and tricks, etc. I’m less likely to follow a blog that is largely based on a bloggers’ ancestry. I’ve given up using bookmarks within the browser, but use text documents (eg. Word documents) – one document per subject such as Genealogy, Google, The Web, Genetics, Copyright, etc. These are stored in DropBox. I put the title of the blog that is of interest into the document. It’s working for me.
    I have about 20 that I follow by email feed. Top would have to be Legal Genealogist, Genealogy’s Star, 4 Your Family Story, Hack Genealogy, and I do like yours (organising your system is paramount). I live in Australia, so most of them come by morning when I go through the overnight email.

    • John, thank you. How interesting that you use RSS feeds by email but capture the information that you want to keep in Word. I appreciate your sharing that. So much food for thought!

  5. Janine,

    Internet Explorer has a very nice blog reader built right into it. I’m surprised that so few people know about it. It’s with the Favorites and History tabs and is labeled “Feeds”.

    It is so nice and convenient having a feed reader built right into my browser. And the Feed icon on the toolbar lights up whenever you’re at a site that has a feed. All you have to do is click it, and it will show you what’s in the feed and allow you to add it to your list of monitored feeds.

    It can import or export OPML so you transfer your feed list.

    I have about 200 feeds in my list, and the only thing that I found inconvenient was that Internet Explorer organizes them alphabetically by feed name. I prefer to have them categorized, so I got around that by prefixing each feed name with a category number, e.g. 1.1, 1.2, 4.3, etc.

    The one disadvantage is that so far there is nothing available to sync the feeds with your app on your smartphone. But to me, I still prefer to read all my feeds on my computer once a day.

    Louis

    • Louis, thank you! I’m a Mac user, so I don’t use IE. I had no idea that it has such a good feed mechanism built in. I’m glad to know about that. Thank you for commenting!

  6. Frances Jackson says:

    Janine,

    I used to use Google Reader but they discontinued that service last summer. When it came time to choose a new reader, I ended up testing out several (setting up blogs to read on all of them) and then eventually gravitated to one.

    While I enjoy using Flipboard (it seems like reading a magazine) it was limited to tablet only…and I wanted to be able to access it on the web as well. Feedly is good but the one that I prefer is Bloglovin. It is easy to use and works on both my iPad and Mac. I am able to separate the blogs I read into different categories (Genealogy, Quilting, Technology, etc). I can mark blog entries as ‘favorites’ so I can go back to them later. Plus, Bloglovin recommends blogs for you to follow based on the blogs that you have put into your feed…so you might find some new blogs to follow!

    • Thanks, Frances. I’m not familiar with Bloglovin, but will check it out. I like your strategy of testing several and seeing what appeals most. I appreciate your comment!

  7. I use ighome – a page for genealogy blogs, one for food and crafts, one for other “interesting” blogs. I could further divide if I want to. I like that the most recent 3-4 blog posts show, allowing me to remember if I’ve already read it or not or if it sounds interesting. My biggest complaint is finding the time to read them all!!! I had a health setback and just haven’t gotten back to the genealogy blogs. In fact, today I made the specific effort to do so and when I saw the title of this post I was hoping you were going to give me the magic answer!

    • Sorry I was just asking questions, not giving answers, Kathy! If I come up with a time-management solution that works for me for keeping up with blogs, I’ll be sure and post about it. Thanks for sharing that you use ighome. I hadn’t been aware of that one.

      I hope you’re feeling better after your health setback. Thanks for your comment.

  8. I also use Feedly. I use the free version. I’m able to categorize the blogs I follow i.e. genealogy, food, family, etc. I highly recommend it!

  9. I use Feedly, both on my computer (HP laptop and my iPhone and it’s the same). I have a bunch of different categories for different interests. I love that I can bookmark them, or send an interesting one to FB, Twitter, G+ , email or Evernote very easily. There are some other symbols for things to send it to that I don’t have so it’s probably even more versatile). I’m reading you now, and commenting, through Feedly ‘s iPhone app. It’s helpful to be able to read my blogs in waiting rooms and such.

  10. My system is little more advanced than figuratively “opening a file folder” for those blogs I find myself going to more than occasionally. I do not actually open a file folder, but I add it to the list of blogs I follow on my blog home page. Since I am on the blog almost every day, I can check when new posts have been added and go right to them. I also read the weekly round-up post series that several bloggers do (and Randy at Genea-Musings lists in his Sunday, “Best Of . . .”) to find items of interest to me. If I then find the blog and author are consistently of interest, I add the blog to my follow list. Occasionally I remove a blog from my list when they have apparently stopped blogging or do so rarely.

    • Thanks for your comment, John. It sounds very smart to use the blogroll on your blog this way. And thanks for sharing how you find new blogs to read. I appreciate your sharing your methods!

  11. Janine,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2014/08/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-august-8.html

    Have a great weekend!

  12. Janine, what a timely subject! Glad you opened up the mic for reader input.

    I follow quite a few blogs myself, and since the demise of Google reader, I’ve experimented with Feedly and Flipboard, as well as just giving up and subscribing by email.

    I’ve found that, depending on the device I’m using for reading (tablet or computer screen), I like different options. Also, it depends both on who is writing the blog and the purpose for which I subscribe to the posts (am I reading it because the writer and I are friends, or am I reading a stranger’s post because I’m trying to glean new instructional material?).

    Also, depending on how I’m using my time segment, I prefer different reading methods. For instance, if I have a few spare minutes to “kill,” I can glance through a few blogs while I’m waiting for something or someone else, which I find is better done on a tablet or smartphone, thus nicer on Flipboard. If I know I’ll likely respond with a comment of my own to a well-thought-out post, I’d prefer reading on my desktop using a different reading method.

    Overall, regarding reading options, as a blogger myself, while I prefer the look of Flipboard, I’m hesitant about some of their terms of service, so ended up not using it as much–spillover to impact an otherwise overall “user friendly” perception. With Feedly, I’m “meh.” Another option, reading by email, is just irritating, in my opinion, save for one grace: I can preview the first few words of the post on gmail on my tablet, allowing instant decisions about which ones to continue reading.

    The best option I’ve found, though–and this is just personal preference–is the reader offered on the dashboard for bloggers utilizing the blogspot service. With that, for every blog I subscribe to, I get about four lines of the post’s text plus a graphic, with notation of how recently it was posted. With one click on the headline, I can go straight to the post at its online address, if I’m tempted. That way, I can scan and decide in a matter of moments whether to click through. I tend to prefer reading blogs in their native habitat ;)

    While I’m not sure whether that sort of convenience has a comparable equivalent offered to WordPress bloggers (or on other blogging services), my blogspot dashboard has been my go-to reader, especially when working on my desktop. That method offers me more control, especially when I want to simultaneously open up multiple tabs with different blogs. I tend to like to share posts, either emailing them to people I think of, or posting them on social media. I’m not facile with the mouseless options on phone or tablet, so for this option–which happens for most of my day–I stick with my blogspot dashboard reader.

    • Jacqui, thank you so much for your comprehensive response! I’ve never even thought about using WordPress for blog reading. I’ll have to see if that’s a possibility. And I also appreciate knowing about Flipboard’s Terms of Service being objectionable. I’ll bear that in mind as I make my decision. I appreciate your comment!

  13. I struggled with this for a while after Google Reader went away. It was at a point I just gave up for awhile. However, I’ve tried several different readers to include Flipboard. But, I finally settled on Feedly. I like that I can read it, with various different apps, on any device I currently hold in my hand. I use the Feedly app on my iphone/ipad and I use the modern reader app on my windows 8.1 desktop and surface pro 2. Feedly was just the simplest to setup and navigate through on a daily basis.

  14. Hi Janine,

    I use Feedly and like it a lot on the PC. As Thomas mentioned you can categorize the feeds in any manner, and there are several ways to customize the layout depending on the feed. The only problem I have is that I find it difficult to navigate on the iPhone.

    I have an app called Reeder on the phone, which I find much easier to use. Reeder is also available for the Mac so you may find it useful. I’m bummed I can’t get it on the PC :)

    • Thanks, Anne! I have to admit I have a bit of a bias in favor of applications written for the Mac, so I think I’ll have to check out Reeder. I sure appreciate your posting!

  15. I actually keep a list on my Evernote app – and I’ve bookmarked the note as “important”. In the note I have links to all the blogs I read and I’m constantly adding and removing and reorganizing the list.

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