Organizing My Online Blog Reading
In last week’s post I mentioned that I would go into more detail about how I organize and stay up to date with my online (blog) reading. Along with just about everything I do, it’s a bit of a process. But it works for me. I have written about this before, but since then things have changed a bit. What follows is the process by which I add new planner-related blogs to my reading list, though there are tons of other blogs I follow as well.
First, I start with Philofaxy’s Web Finds. This list appears twice a week. When it shows up in my feed reader, I email it to myself. When I have time, I go through the post and add any new (or new to me) blogs to my reading list.
I am an avid Feedly user. I used to use Google Reader, and when that dissolved, Feedly was the recommended service. I started with it and continue with it because of all of feed readers I have tried (and I’ve tried them all), Feedly is the only one that provides everything I’m looking for in a reader (both good browser and app capabilities, integration with other services, etc.).
Currently, I subscribe to 462 blogs and news sites. Everything is organized by topic, as seen below.
I don’t read all of the posts that come my way. I used to (or at least try to), but now the list is so overwhelming that it would be a full time job to do that. However, I do want to stay on top of all the posts that these sites put out; hence the need for Feedly.
When I have time (usually in the morning with my coffee or in the evening with my tea), I will go through Feedly for all updated posts. I almost always use my iPad for this.
(More on my app organization in a future post.)
Certain blogs that I follow have been marked as “must read,” and those are the updates I see first.
What I love about Feedly is that it has Pocket integration.
Feedly does allow the user to save articles within its own app/website, but no items can be read offline, whereas Pocket allows for offline reading. I used to save only the “must reads” in Feedly and saved everything else to Pocket, but I found I was then going back to save the Feedly items to Pocket in order to read them offline. Eventually I got smart and started saving everything to Pocket in order to save myself time.
Within Feedly I can also email myself articles.
Generally, this is done when I know—even before I read an article thoroughly—that I need to do something with that information. If this is the case, it doesn’t make sense for me to save it to Pocket only to email it to myself later. So I’ll just email the article right out of the gate. I also have a (bad, perhaps?) habit of emailing all kinds of articles to other people if I think they will be interested. No need to save those items first.
Once I’m done with my “must read” list in Feedly, I’ll check the remaining blogs if time allows.
Anything I want to read in full I’ll save to Pocket. So, the act of looking at Feedly is to peruse what’s there and save what I want to read. Making this a two-step process allows me to review everything first and go back to the items that I want to really pay attention to when I have the time for it. I’ll usually do that on my lunch break in the middle of the day.
When it comes time for me to switch to my Pocket app, what I see is a list of everything I’ve saved. The first thing I do is “favorite” anything I want to read right away (these usually come from my “must read” list in Feedly), which I do based on blog name, though sometimes it’s because the article is something I want to read right away.
The “favorite” articles are the ones with the stars. From here, I choose the “Favorites” list.
This gives me a list of only those items that have a star so that they’re easier to find. I read these first.
These tend to be blogs that I comment on often (“often” being relative). In order for my comment to be relevant to the post as a whole, it needs to be posted within a day or two, which is why I read those blogs first. Philofaxy is a perfect example—there is a new post almost daily and if I wait too long to comment, everyone has moved on to the newest topics.
If I do want to post a comment, I will either do it right away (if I have time) or will email it to myself with a note to comment on the post when I can.
What I also like about Pocket is that not only can I see the “article only” view, but if something isn’t displaying (like comments from other readers), I can tap on the “web view” option.
This allows me to see the actual website version of the article without having to move away from the Pocket app.
It’s a little hard to tell the difference in this example, but this comes in very handy with Philofaxy’s Free for All posts (posted on Tuesdays and Fridays)—I can switch to the web view in Pocket to see what others are commenting and either reply to something then and there (there is an option to open the article in the browser of your choice) or email it to myself for a future comment.
Once I’m finished with my favorites list in Pocket, I move on to the remaining saved articles.
If I email an article to myself, I will deal with it later.
I have my Gmail inbox set up so that there is a specific section for things to respond to (most of these are planner/organization related).
Everything I want to respond to or follow up with or deal with later gets a label of “To Do” and gets put in the “To Do” section, separate from my other messages.
When I have time, usually on the weekends or in the evenings, I will take care of these items. You can also see that I subscribe to a few YouTube channels, and those are delivered right to my inbox.
(More on how I organize my email inbox in a future post.)
So that’s it.
It probably sounds like this is quite a complicated system, and perhaps it is. But it evolved over time, by way of using these apps and services and seeing what works best. For me, the entire process is a way to weed through a TON of information and filtering it down to the few pieces that I want to take action on. And in the process I learn a lot from others and enjoy even more. It’s a way for me to connect with like-minded people who have the same or similar or even very different passions as me.
*Note: I am in no way affiliated with any of the blogs or websites mentioned or pictured above. I am merely a happy user and/or reader of these websites.