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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

How to keep up with all of this blogging stuff using bloglines.



This is a rehash of a post I did in December on another one of my blogs. I get a lot of questions from bloggers on how to keep up with everything, this is how I do it. (Brittany May, this is for you.)

This article is about the number one most useful thing a person can have today -- a news aggregator.

News Aggregator or News Aggravator?

It will be a news aggravator if you don't do it right. There is something relatively new on the web called RSS - (really simple syndication). It can be very confusing, however.

I've tried several services and methods -- here is the easiest and best that I teach my students to use. I have found the best use of RSS is to sign up for an account like bloglines and subscribe to the information that interests you.

Setting up a bloglines account - here are the steps:


1) Go to bloglines.com
The only required is an e-mail and password

2) Set up your free account

Remember, use another password other than your e-mail password -- some folks think that is what they are asking for-- it is not!

3) Pay attention to the choices when you are signing up --

They will help you pick the most popular choices in the categories you are interested in. However Do not select everything! You will become buried in information and not know what to do. (If you want to see my blogroll-- just go to http://www.bloglines.com/blog/coolcatteacher and look at what I read.)

4) Go into your account!

You will be tempted to start reading everything, but everything is marked to be read! It is just not realistic that you will sit down and read 200 articles unless you really have some time on your hands -- I strongly suggest clicking "Mark all as read." (I also do this when I've hit the highlights and won't read again until tomorrow - it prevents info overload.)

5) Wait a little while -- surf -- or wait until tomorrow. Then you can go back into your account

Learn to add feeds easily
The true power of bloglines though is in adding feeds. You can subscribe to this feed, for example. Here is the easiest way!

Blogs to Read
I prefer to use the "Sub with Bloglines" button that I've conveniently placed on the toolbar of my web browser. Then, when I find a blog (like mine) that I want to subscribe to -- I can just click that button and it takes me through the process of adding the subscription.

How do I add the Sub with Bloglines button?
The easiest way to do add this button is:

1) Scroll down on the startup page

(After you've logged into your account -- you'll see your feed list on the left and on the right a page that says Home > My Feeds)

You will scroll down until you see the words Subscribe to It -- then a link that says "Subscribe with one click from your browser toolbar."

2) Click on the link and follow the instructions! (Two steps)

Then you can go to my blog, or any other blog or page with RSS and add it to your bloglines account -- just click on the button on the toolbar.

Try it out:
If you've just set up your account, and you are on my blog, just click Sub with Bloglines and it will give you a choice of feeds (I have five) -- unless you want the podcast chose any of them EXCEPT the Talkr one and voila -- cool cat in the bloglines account.

If you want to find more blogs, look on the left side of my blog and find an educator blog that suits your fancy. Mine are sorted by recency so those who've posted lately are at the top of the list.

Use folders
After clicking "Sub with Bloglines" it will then ask you what folder to add it to and other information.

I highly recommend making folders to organize your info. When you do that -- just click on the folder on the left that you have created and bloglines puts EVERYTHING in that folder together -- your news from the New York Times will be put in with the news from the WSJ and your Google news -- easy as Mrs. Smith's apple pie!

Check daily

Bloglines will notify you when there is new information -- just click and read.

Integrate with Google News


I particularly like the feature in google where you can make a search-- you can then subscribe to that search through Bloglines -- when new search information arises, you're there! I've done this with Google News -- I find it to be much more comprehensive than the New York Times and it links to all of the articles on that topic.

Keep up with people who link to your blog

This is very useful! I like to keep up with folks who link to me so I can comment and participate in the extended conversation. I think this is important! (Look at my past Ten habits of bloggers that win to learn about pinging.)

To keep up to date on who is linking to you:

1) Go to www.technorati.com

2) Claim your blog and set up an account. (When you claim it it will have you set up the account. Just look for the button on the home page that says to "Claim your blog now." It is often part of a picture.)

3) After claiming your blog, make sure you've logged into Technorati.

(You can tell that you are because a gray bar is at the top and it says "Signed in as...")

4) On the home page in the box that says "Search the blogosphere" type your URL (without the http.) and click Search.

5) The results of those who link to you will come up on the screen. In the top right corner is a button that says "Add to watchlist" Click it.

6) Once you've added your blog to your watchlist, Technorati will take you to a screen that shows the three most recent links to your URL.

There is a little blue button that says RSS and beside it the words "view in RSS." Click that button.

7) A lot of computer "stuff" will appear but don't worry. Now, click the "Sub with Bloglines" button that you put on your browser. Put this subscription in a folder named "links to my blog" or something like that.

Now, when you have links to your blog on technorati, they will appear automatically in bloglines in that folder. Go to the people who talk about you and comment and participate! Cool!

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Try it and enjoy it! It is easy and it doesn't need to take a lot of time! There are lots of other RSS readers out there that will do these same things as well.

Just comment with questions on this one and I'll answer! Let me know if you need help -- after all I'm a teacher at heart!
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