Before I began using Feedly a few years ago, I had never used RSS before. Honestly, I didn’t even have a clue what it stood for (Rich Site Summary) or how it could improve my life. Anytime I wanted to check for news, I’d pull up each website I frequently individually, scan their front page to the point that I had last read, and repeat this process throughout the day. That was the sole source of my news since I had yet to join Twitter and my Facebook wasn’t overloaded with links as it is now.
This quickly became a problem: I am an information addict, so checking for news often occurred hourly, if not sooner. That meant that every time I wanted to satiate my hunger, I had to once again pull up the ten to fifteen websites I enjoyed. And boy was I hungry!
I eventually admitted the problem, so I decided to find a solution. I briefly looked at Google Reader, but its interface seemed ugly and loud. One of the major reasons it took me so long to get into Twitter was how overwhelming it felt, and it wasn’t until I found categories and Tweetdeck that I could structure the information so it wasn’t pure noise. Similarly, Feedly helped me organize, tame, and grow my news consumption habit.
These were the early days of Feedly so, despite being feature-rich, it wasn’t as featureful as it is today. I remember beta testing it on my iPod Touch (it was a while before I could afford a smartphone). Nowadays, Feedly is available on iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. I primarily use it on my PC, but I frequently use it on my Android phone as well.
What exactly does Feedly do? Feedly captures syndicated RSS content from whatever websites you decide to add to it. With its variety of views, customization when it comes to categorizing feeds, and easy sharing options, Feedly is one of the most handy applications I have ever used. I’ve put it to work everyday, multiple times a day, for several years now. I even use it for aggregating podcasts since I no longer use iTunes, though it isn’t really meant for that.
It helps that it is incredibly easy to use if you haven’t before:
- Go to the Feedly website and click ‘Get Started’.
- Begin typing in a website to add to Feedly on the left-hand side of the screen.
- Your best bet is to copy and paste the site URL directly: try ‘geekforcenetwork.wordpress.com’ and give it a shot!
After that, click on Geek Force Network. Feedly will display what GFN’s feed looks like. Once you click ‘Follow’ at the top, you’ll be prompted to sign in with a required Google account. This makes it easier to take Feedly with you anywhere.
Once you have an account, it is time to add more websites and categorize them. For mine, I use Gaming, Culture, Technology, Sports, and Blogroll as my primary categories.
One of my favorite ‘tricks’ is adding the RSS link to my YouTube subscriptions. That way I don’t have to check YouTube separately and I don’t have a bunch of additional feeds on my Feedly. To find out how to get your RSS link for YouTube, go here.
Feedly is a great tool for bloggers looking to keep up with their community. Rather than use WordPress’s reader, I find it a lot more useful to have everything I read in a single location. Plus, I always felt like I was leaving Google Blogger users out in the cold.
It also helps that RSS feeds are quicker to sort through, since you always have the title and some of the body of the post available to read. As much as I wish it were not true, many websites publish articles that have zero interest to me. Feedly lets me go ahead and clear though out of the way. And for the articles on the fringe of ‘must read’ and ‘won’t read’, Feedly has a handy archiving function to save those to read later.
Since I am a huge fan, I am also a Feedly Pro user. Normally, Feedly is 100% free, but Feedly Pro promises additional features and the ability to suggest new ideas to the developer. It is still a bit early to call it a necessary upgrade, especially at $45 a year, but I don’t mind showing my support.
Let me know in the comments below what you think of Feedly if you haven’t used it before. If you use something else, I would love to hear about that as well!
If you are a fan, don’t forget to add Geek Force Network. Here’s a link so there’s no effort required!