Seth Godin warns us that the Internet is almost full, not in terms of physical space — that’s almost unlimited — but in terms of our mental capacity to keep up. It really is overwhelming at times. How do you read all your emails, much less keep up with the news you want to read?
I’m only halfway there, but one of the most helpful things I’ve done is set up an RSS reader. What’s an RSS reader? RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication. Your favorite websites and blogs (like this one) have an RSS feed that you can subscribe to. This will let you know when there is a new post and give you a quick summary of it (you can then decide to click thru to the full post).
You need to subscribe to these feeds in some sort of a reader. It’s like the personalized My Yahoo or iGoogle pages, both of which use RSS feeds to populate your selected content. But the one I like and use is Google’s Reader. It has a list of my feeds down the left hand side. I click on one and get summaries of stories (or blog posts) in a reading pane — just like email. I scroll through and scan and click if I want to read more. To add a site to your reader, just look for the RSS or Atom XML button on a site. (Sometimes, I do a CTRL+F which is a “find” shortcut and type in “RSS” to find the feed button.) Once you click on that, it’ll ask you where you want to put the feed, and there is almost always an option to add it to your Google Reader.
It’s simple once you get the hang of it. If you try it and need help, just shoot me a note and I’ll help you out.
One more thing: I often read news on my phone when I’m in waiting rooms or standing in lines. You can pull up your Google reader on most mobile phones and it optimizes the content for mobile viewing. That’s another tool I use to keep up with what’s going on and maximize my time a bit.
Hope this helps make your life easier!