For a few years, I have been a strong advocate of following blogs using an aggregator tool such as Google Reader. I even created a "bundle" of SLP blogs that anyone could subscribe to all at once using Reader. Unfortunately, several months ago, Google announced that it was retiring this product, causing much of the edtech world to spin into a panic (NOTE: If you subscribe to this or other blogs via email, none of this affects you, though I recommend reading on to learn about another way to receive blog content). Though Reader will not be accessible after July 1, 2013, and the SLP Blogs Bundle can therefore have no new subscribers after that time, a substitute has risen to the top: Feedly.
Feedly has been my go-to reading tool since the announcement of the demise of Reader, and I wanted to post about it in conjunction with SLP and fellow SpeechTechie Janelle Albrecht, who had a similar reaction to this bad news. Janelle supported me in those early, dark days after Google broke my heart. This post will give you some information and steps to follow whether or not you currently are a Reader/Feedly user.
Janelle and I conversed over a Google Hangout recently about the advantages of blog aggregators and how Feedly has become our savior:
Sorry that the video is a bit quiet on Janelle's end- you may need headphones to hear her side of the conversation. Key points:
-After July 1, 2013, Google Reader will be no more.
-If you log in to Feedly before July 1 with your Google Account, all your subscriptions and starred items will be migrated to Feedly seamlessly.
-Feedly is a free, clean and efficient tool that you can use to skim all blogs you subscribe to, share posts with others, and curate posts for later reading by "saving for later" or tagging posts in categories for your organization.
-Feedly became our top new tool (after a brief mourning period aligning with the stages of grief outlined by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross) because of its wide array of features, similarity to Reader, clean look and feel, and cross-platform nature (you can use Feedly for free via any web browser, iOS and Android)
-Feedly has developed a critical mass of converts following the Google Reader announcement and has made key steps to ensure users' easy transition to the tool, which bodes longevity.
-Blogs are a GREAT "receptive" way to engage in social media and professional development. No need to interact if you don't want to; just read!
-You can start using Feedly even if you have never used Google Reader, and you should! If you follow more than two or three blogs, it is better to use such a tool than to individually navigate to blogs via bookmarks in your browser, which is inefficient and does not support easy sharing or curation of posts.
-Folks also like Flipboard and Zite, news aggregators that provide different experiences and features.
-You can still give yourself a jumpstart with a collection of blogs by subscribing to the Google Reader SLP Blogs Bundle before July 1 (navigate to Reader while signed into a Google account, then click on this link to add the bundle). Sign into Feedly as well before that date to migrate these subscriptions.
-After July 1, the SLP Blogs bundle will be unavailable for new subscribers, but will stay in your Feedly.
-I will make it a summer project to replace this bundle with a list or resource links of blogs you can add to your Feedly related to speech-language pathology. Heidi Kay of Pediastaff and Jenna Rayburn of Speech Room News have done this here and here very well so I am not sure how much I will reinvent the skillfully constructed wheel. It's very easy to add individual blogs to Feedly, as you can see in the tutorial below.
Overall, Feedly is super easy to use! In addition to the video above, which is more of a discussion, I made a tutorial on using the web or iPad versions of Feedly:
This post may trigger a number of questions. Please feel free to leave any questions in the comments and I will be sure to respond! Thanks to the nearly 1,000 people who subscribed to the SLP Blogs Bundle over the past several years. I was very happy to promote all the good work of SLP Bloggers. Hopefully Feedly will come up with a similar bundling feature as it evolves. Thanks also again to Janelle Albrecht for your time, insights, and patience with my "technical difficulties" on the morning of our recording!
Last Tips: Be sure to add something to your Feedly that makes you laugh or think (or both). Lately, I am enjoying the guilty pleasure of BuzzFeed, and Lifehacker always gives me good ideas. Both of these blogs, and some others, can be very prolific. DO NOT feel like you need to read every post of anything. That is sure to short out your brain and make you want to stop following blogs. Liberate thyself whenever the number of unread posts stresses you our- you can remove the subscription or "Mark all as Read." No one will know. Be Zen. Whatever you read is just the right amount for you to read.