Monday, July 29, 2013

Life Without Reader

Searching for a satisfactory replacement for Google Reader (GR) has prompted me to rethink my online reading habits, in two ways:

Do I want to depend on RSS for my reading? No. That’s become clear to me as every GR substitute I’ve tried has turned out to have one or more problems: delays, downtime, missing posts, botched formatting.

Do I need to check most sites on a several-times-a-day basis? No. But that is, in effect, what I’m doing by checking a reader throughout the day.

So I’m trying Life Without Reader, any reader. I’ve created a Pinboard bookmark to hold the URLs for sites I’ve been following in GR and replacement readers. I will visit these sites on a regular basis, not daily but two or three times a week. Thus I’ll be able to read what people have written as they’ve chosen to present it, with distinctive typography, sidebars, the works. (How much one misses out on with RSS — comments too.) That I won’t be seeing posts in the timeliest way is of minor concern to me: very little of what I read is in any danger of turning into yesterday’s news a day or two after publication.

Life Without Reader is my suggestion for greater engagement with those whom one reads online. I’d like to see it catch on.

comments: 6

brownstudy said...

I really should have the nerve to try this. I'm still suffering with Feedly, but find that I simply don't check it as often as I did Google Reader. Perhaps because it's a little more annoying to use, it acts as a brake on my reading.

I've also experimented with using Feedblitz as a way to subscribe to blogs via email. I get an email whenever a new post is posted, but I think other schedules are available. I'm marginally better at managing email than I am managing a dozen RSS feeds.

Though your 'analog' method for checking sites seems more ... sane. Check the sites on *my* timetable, not my feed reader's.

Michael Leddy said...

I hope it’s sane. I have close to one hundred sites in my reader, but many of them post infrequently. After doing without a reader for a day, I can say that my time online feels less cluttered. I checked many sites but didn’t feel the need to plow through posts and mark them as read.

I think what I’m reacting to is the increasing mediation of life online. So I’m cutting out the middleman, so to speak.

Arne said...

I'm still trying to like, but it has issues.

Michael Leddy said...

I’ve found it cumbersome to use in iOS. What problems do you find?

Arne said...

Navigation using j/k keys not always working, 'mark all as read' not always working, scrolling over items should mark them 'read'.

Michael Leddy said...

I’ll add: no sidebar in iOS, large blank space added to short posts.