Sunday Salon – Google Reader

TSSbadge3Happy Sunday or Monday or Tuesday!  It’s September, it’s raining, school has started and things are going to get a little crazy.  I plan to keep reading and reviewing.  I plan to finish all my challenges (we’ll see about that) and I really want to get back to writing poetry.  Not to mention the fact that BBAW is a week away. Sounds like a time management nightmare.

Speaking of time management,  I would like to ask you about Google Reader.  Do you use it?  Do you like it?  Is it helpful or overwhelming?

Screen Shot

Screen Shot

The reason I ask is that, although it is a wonderful tool, I’m finding that I’m not taking the time to visit my favorite blogs.  I mean really visiting them, reading long posts, writing comments or  just saying hello.

With the reader it is  so easy to scan through posts, maybe open a link or two, but there is so much there, I am pressured to get it all read, and I feel I am loosing a vital connection.

So, I am going to try a different approach.  I will use Google Reader as a news reader, information gatherer and a place to look at eclectic blogs I never comment on.  As for my favorite book blogs I will try and visit them at least once a week, read the posts, post a comment or two, maybe just say hi.

What do you think?  Is  Google Reader a useful tool or a distraction?  Last night I read a post at Reactions to Reading that insisted  that all blogs needed an RSS feed to make it convenient to read on a feed reader.  The blogger stated the belief that those without a feed were just fishing for stats.  Do you agree?

As for reading this past week I finished my first book for R.I.P. IV.  You can find the review here.  I’ve started my second book for the Random Reading Challenge.  It’s called The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet and it  is absolutely wonderful.  I’m also reading The Snow Geese by William Fiennes.  I think I will review it for the Science Book Challenge.



What are you reading this Sunday?

Sunday Salon is a gathering place for bloggers who love books. We often write about what we’re reading, new books we’ve heard about or thoughts on the literary life.  To find out more visit Sunday Salon headquarters here.



Filed under Sunday Salon

39 responses to “Sunday Salon – Google Reader

  1. lena

    I actually have noticed that about myself since starting to use GR. I love it, I mean, it makes sure that I don’t leave out any blogs. On the other hand, I rarely comment anymore. Not because I’m not reading the posts but beacuse when I finish reading it, I look at the top corner to find I have like forty or something posts left to read – and I just keep moving on.

    • I spent several hours on Sunday visiting my favorite blogs through Sunday Salon and leaving comments. It was great fun.
      I think I will visit my favorites from my blog and add newly discovered blogs on to my reader. That way I won’t loose them and may end up adding them to my site. I think GR is just too much information coming in all at once.

  2. I use an aggregator (Bloglines, rather than Google Reader), but I set it to just display the titles of posts, rather than the entire posts themselves. So it’s essentially just a reminder to click over to the blogs and read them. It works well for me, since I basically just need a cue as to when people have posted. But I really like to read the posts on the person’s actual blog, in the specific visual atmosphere they have created for their words. Plus, as Lena noted, it’s more conducive to commenting, and I try to comment on a large percentage of the entries I read.

    • Emily – Thanks for the comment. I have switched GR to display titles and that is better. There is just so much information coming in at once! I’m going to add newly discovered blogs to GR and then see if I keep reading them. If I like them I’m going to add then to my blogroll.

  3. I use Google Reader and that way I can keep track of blogs I like. I comment on those post I like. It has made me better organized.

    I don’t think RSS feed is necessary. I simply copy and paste the blog URL.

    • gautami – Thanks for your comment! I’m going to use GR to keep track of newly discovered blogs, that way I won’t loose track of them.

  4. I stopped using GR because I felt it lacked that personal touch as you suggest, and it was simply overwhelming. Matt (A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook) and I have discussed before that we both simply go through our own blogrolls and click in directly. Works for us.

    Also love T.S. Spivet not only for content but also for the whole book as object angle. I think that as everyone worries that print books will disappear, the publishing industry has been re-inventing itself in a number of subtle ways. To good effect.

    Today I am finishing The History of Love and wondering what to read next. Happy reading!

    • Frances – Thank you for the comment. Yesterday, using Sunday Salon I spent some time visiting my favorite blogs and leaving comments. It felt wonderful.

      GR is just too much information at once. I think I will use it to track newly discovered blogs, that way I won’t loose them. I’m going to go back to reading blogs through my blogroll.

      T.S Spivet is lovely, the story and the book. I read The History of Love a couple of years ago and enjoyed it. Have a good week!

  5. I’m pretty excited about school starting because my boys have been driving each other crazy these past few weeks. We all need a break from that.

    I don’t really use google reader very much. I use a reader that’s called “Feedreader” – very original name, huh? :) I like it though because it makes it easy to sort and search the feeds.

    • Alyce – Thanks for stopping by. That sibling thing can get intense, my sister and I were always at each other and school was a relief.

      I think Google Reader is just too much information at once! I will look at “Feedreader” and see if I like it better.

  6. I use Google Reader. I try to make a point of clicking through to blogs that I like as much as I can because I prefer to see the look of the blog, and so often the comments are just as interesting as the original post.

    I feel like I am visiting that person’s home, as opposed to just speaking to them on the phone – I’m not a great phone person.

    It helps me keep track of far more blogs than I otherwise would.

    I also love the new feature where you can follow what your friends are reading, if they share a post.

    But I have a rule. If the numbers start mounting up, I just “mark all as read” even if I have not. Otherwise I start drowning in posts, and what is the point of that.
    So I dont try to read everything, just things that catch my eye. So important to have a good title!

    • Masha – I just think there is too much information coming through Google Reader, at least for my poor brain. I’m going to use it to track newly discovered blogs, to see if I will keep reading them, and just visit my favorites from my blog roll. You are right, it is like visiting someone’s home!

      I haven’t tried the friends feature. Will have to check that out.

  7. Google Reader works well for me. I scan posts, let them go as ‘read’ if I’m not interested, and mark them unread if I want to go back and read more carefully, then go out and comment. I’m always out visiting blogs that way. If I didn’t use a reader, I’d forget half the blogs I like to visit. There are just too many.

    • Amanda – I haven’t tried the “unread” feature yet. I just think there is too much coming through GR for me to process. I’m going to use it to track newly discovered blogs, that way I won’t loose them and then add my favorites to my blogroll.

  8. I love Google Reader, but I definitely see your point. There’s the risk of it becoming overwhelming. What I’ve been doing for the past few months is keeping the number of unread posts hidden. It definitely helps ease some of the pressure. I also try to click over and comment as often as possible. And I often use Amanda’s tactic too!

    • Nymeth – I just find GR to be too much information. I am going to use it to follow newly discovered blogs so I don’t loose them and go back to following my favorites from my blogroll. Thanks for your comments!

  9. I never got that RSS/Google Reader stuff. I just keep my favorite blogs bookmarked and visit occasionally. In fact, today that’s pretty much all I’ve been doing – reading blogs, aimlessly roaming the Net. I really need to get back to Titania Hardie’s The Rose Labyrinth. Gotta get a review out on that one.

    • E.L.Fay – I’m going to go back to visiting blogs from my blogroll and just use GoogleReader to keep track of newly discovered blogs to see if I stick with them. I’m curious about The Rose Labyrinth..

  10. bernadetteinoz

    I’d be lost without Google Reader and these days it’s my primary source of news and info from the net. I have mine set up in a variety of folders based on topic. With my book related blogs I have separate folders for “Must Read” and “Like to Read” – if time is short I won’t bother with the Like to Reads but I always find time for the Must Reads and I will usually click on the links and visit the blog itself if necessary.

    With things like Sunday Salon, which has over 400 participants now, I don’t always read all the posts but I do scan through them when I have time (like this morning) and I’ll click into a post if the title seems to indicate something i have some interest in or knowledge of. And sometimes I’ll even leave a comment at a brand new-to-me blog – like now :)

    • bernadetteinoz – Thank you for the comment. I’m finding out all kinds of new tricks about Google Reader from everyone’s responses. Very helpful! I think that GR may just be too much information at once for my brain. It distracts me from visiting blogs I like and reading through posts.

  11. I use Google Reader but it is definitely a distraction and I have resolved to do something about it in October (nothing like a little procrastination to help one “think through” the process!). I really prefer to have “discussions” but having to get through GR encourages quick, trivial commenting. The key is, in my opinion, to connect with blogs with whom you value an interchange of ideas and restrict yourself just to those. Easier said than done, which is why I’ve picked October to start!

    • Rhapsody – I agree GR is a distraction. I’ve been getting lots of great ideas from people’s responses and will use some to make GR more “user friendly” for my overloaded brain.

      I also value “discussions” and will visit my favorite blogs through my blogroll. It’s like being invited into someone’s living room, much more conducive to conversation.

  12. I used to be very anti-reader of any kind, but I’ve been using Google Reader for a few months now, and I really like that it streamlines everything for me – this way I never miss a post, and it saves me a lot of time. Rather than clicking from blog to blog, I can use that time to comment!
    And I haven’t found that reading through Google has prevented me from commenting – I always do make the time to click through and say my piece!

    • Steph – I just think GR is too visually distracting for my brain. I have been introduced to different GR tools through people’s replies and will try them out. Thanks for your comments.

  13. I’m with Frances (and Matt). I tried using Google reader and found it very impersonal – I like to see the blogs! I keep up with many by ‘following’ them, others are bookmarked and visited once or twice a week. This seems to be working for now…

    • Joanne – Thanks for your comment. This conversation has been very helpful and introduced me to some new GR tools.

      I plan on using GR to follow newly discovered blogs and visiting my favorites through my blogroll. Much easier on my brain!

  14. I am IN LOVE with Google Reader. I am commenting so much more now that I have it, and it makes everything so organized; and if I don’t remember where I read about a book, I can just do a search through my lovely Google Reader. Unqualified yes vote from me. :)

    • Jeeny – Thanks for commenting. I’m learning all kinds of new tricks about Google Reader and will use is as a tool to follow newly discovered blogs. I just find it is too much information all at once and will visit my favorites from my blogroll.

  15. I definately wouldn’t be able to keep track of all the blogs that I read without google reader. But I do go through phases where I hardly comment on any blogs because of it. But for me it’s just a phase or a symptom of being too tired to take anything in when I stop commenting.

    • Michelle – I think my lack of commenting is what is really bothering me about Google Reader and I find with all those “unread” posts that I rush through my favorite blogs. All the comments in this discussion are giving me new GR tools. I will definitely try them out.

  16. I started getting overwhelmed with Google Reader and I had to learn not to try to read every single post on every single blog that I subscribed to. It was just way to much.

    I also make a lot of use of the labels. I have each blog labeled by topic (since I subscribe to non-book blogs as well), and then I added a second label to a select few that are my “favorites” – the ones I want to read everything on. I keep all my labels collapsed except favorites, and I made it so that my favorites label is what shows as my start page (go to settings, preferences, and for start page you can select any of your labels). So when I open up GR all I see are posts from my favorite blogs. The other ones I can read when I want to but I don’t feel this same pressure as before I starting doing it this way.

  17. Sarah – Thanks for your comments and thank you for all those great Google Reader organizing ideas! I will definitely use them to make GR more “user friendly.” There is just so much information coming through that I get overwhelmed.

  18. Like many of the others, Gavin, I just link to the blogs I like (or who also to link to me) via my blogroll. It’s “old-fashioned,” I guess, but I too enjoy seeing people’s blogs in the colors, format, etc. that actually appear on the blogs. On an unrelated note, my Sony CD Walkman still plays CDs by the early Kinks as fine as any iPod could!

  19. I’ve been thinking about trying Google reader lately. Right now my current system seems to be working (subscribing to wordpress blogs via wordpress readomatic and everything else on netvibes). But, it would be nice to have everything in one place and it sounds like Google reader has come good organizational features.
    All the comments here have been really helpful – thanks for opening up the discussion!

  20. Still checking this post? I hope so.

    I just started with Google Reader.I am a refuge from MyYahoo! which is much more configurable, but does not always work.

    Google Reader seems to have no utility to limit the number of days of articles and feeds. I mean, you know, if I have not looked at it in three days, that stuff is obsolete and I do not want to have to deal with it.

    Any Ideas? I have tried to get registered on the Google forum for Google Reader, but I am waiting now dasy for the confirmation email.

    • Richard – There is a button above the reader listings that says mark all as read. If you click on the down arrow it gives you several options, older then a day, older then a week, etc. I’m getting much better at using GR and have created folders for blogs I read every day and ones i may check once a week. I like your blog. by the way, and am adding it to my reader!

  21. Well Gavin-

    Two Thank You’s, one for the hints about Google Reader, and the other for your comment about my weblog.

    I am starving for comments, I get so very few (58 posts, 80 comments (and at least ten of those from one fellow with whom I have been having a “conversation about WQXR), in total views of 2018) The busiest day I had was 46 views, and I think a lot of them, 24, were about a post which described Public Distributed Computing with BOINC and WCG, not music, not PubRadio.

    I am trying to start conversations of substance.

    Thanks again, I am going to keep your reply open on one computer and go to Google Reader on another to see what I can do.

    Yes, the “Mark All as read” I had seen. It n would be great if there was a way to limit the number of days shown. If I ever get on the forum I will bring that up.


  22. Pingback: BOOKS AND MOVIES » Bookish links for Saturday, September 12, 2009

  23. Pingback: Sunday Salon 2009-09-13: Week in Review « Reactions to Reading

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