(I work with social media and I'm on it all day. I don't know why it took me so long, but I had the sudden idea that maybe I should blog about it once in awhile! The first few posts will be about "old news" but I have some thoughts to share anyhow)
Last winter Google announced they were retiring their RSS app, Google Reader. It was my tool of choice for reading blogs and I was surprised to see how many others were using it too. Despite lots of despair and exasperation from users, Google Reader was shut down at the beginning of July. Google said not enough people were using it. Some claimed it was because Google just didn't care about it anymore. Either way it was gone and people were looking for replacements.
I tried out three or four options and landed with Feedly. When you first open Feedly, it does seem overwhelming and the content comes at you willy nilly. I found if you make two changes to your preferences, you can have it operate somewhat like Google Reader.
The first thing to do is go under "Preferences" and set your "Start Page" to "Index".
The "Index" page shows all your categories and the blogs with unread posts listed under each one. Since I started Feedly before Google Reader closed, I was able to import all my categories with the blogs lists over to Feedly. I like this view because I can quickly see my favorite topics and which blogs have been updated in each one. I don't like the other view where it just keeps showing me blog post after blog post. There are some blogs that I want to read before others. Nothing against some of the blogs, I just have priorities... like blogs by people I know IRL and posts from people in Rochester.
I navigate by clicking on the blog title, reading all the posts, then using the browser button to go back to the "Index".
The next step is to change the "Default View" to "Full Articles".
That way when I click on a blog, I see the entire post. Not just a teaser. This helps me reduce how many times I have to click. Plus if there are five posts to catch up on I can just scroll down to read them all.
There are a few blogs that have their blogs set to only show a teaser, if they have a long post, in which case I have to click on the title and go over to the actual blog. I get why they do that but it drives me nuts. I follow a lot of blogs and I don't have time for that!
With these changes, I have found Feedly to be very usable and maybe even better because I seem to be reading blogs more than ever.
And what about the Pro Feedly version? I missed the $99 lifetime offer. Right now I don't see any features in the pro version that I feel like I need, so I'll be passing on that.