Show me yer rig! (Google Reader edition)

First off, I’m gonna keep on makin’ these things until you tell me to stop, or until I get better at them, or both.

Second, uh…off, I’d originally intended to do a screencast on Evernote, my favorite digital scoop-’em-up device, but then Evernote decided to take the site down for a little maintenance right as I was getting ready to roll, so I went with Google Reader instead. (Look for a doodly-wah on Evernote at a later date.)

While I do my my best to be entertaining as all get-out, those of you who are already web-savvy may want to skip this one. There’s a bit in there about some tricks I use to keep my GR nice and tidy; you can skip to the last third of the video for that portion, including a visual demo of the excellent Gina Trapani‘s excellent Better GReader add-on for Firefox.

But if you only ever read this site by actually going to the site, or if you only read sites by subscribing via email, you’re in for a treat!

Here’s the video. Click on the button with the four arrows to make it BIG, baby:

Show me yer rig! (Google Reader edition) from communicatrix on Vimeo.

At some point, I’ll figure out how to actually edit these and make them slick and purdy. Until then (and even after), I’d be most grateful for your feedback. Too long? Too short? Features I’m blipping over?



BONUS TIP: from commenter Claire, to only show the blogs with updates, click on the downward arrow tab next to “Subscriptions” and select “Show Updated.” Nifty! Anyone else?


  1. Colleen, this is great! I love that we can see you and your computer screen at the same time – so helpful! I’ve been super-busy lately (took on a freelance assignment on top of my full-time job) and I haven’t had time to keep up with my favorite blogs, including yours – but reading blogs is both something that I enjoy and a way of collecting ideas for my own communications work, so I’ve been thinking that I wanted to figure out “this RSS feed thing” and this is just the push that I needed. Thank you.

  2. p.s. Interesting: I’m already following blogs on Google Reader and I didn’t even know it. If you already follow certain blogs through Blogger, and you sign into Blogger with a Google account, Google automatically adds those blogs to Google Reader! So smart, that Google.

  3. Thanks for letting me know, Sarah. I’d wondered whether it was a good thing (vs. a distracting and/or annoying thing) that I have my face in the picture-in-picture. My hunch is that if I ever get to the point where I can produce the hell outta these, you won’t need my mug down there, lower-right. But for now, it probably helps with emphasis and even keeping things from being dull.

    That’s a great feature Blogger/Google offers. I appreciate your pointing it out!

  4. Colleen – Thanks for the lesson. It’s distracting to get my blog subscription alerts by email. I keep these emails hanging around for days because I won’t take time to go to the site. Your Google Reader method is so much smarter! I like having you talking in the corner of the screen. It reminds me that someone took time to CREATE this content and the least I can do is pay for it with a few moments of attention. Speaking of “paying” by paying attention. Have you read Chris Anderson’s book on Free? It’s free at Audible if you need to fill silent car hours.

  5. Wow! Fantastic tutorial. I’m embarrassed to admit I used Yahoo RSS Feeder for about three and a half minutes more than four years ago and never went back. I dutifully click from blog to blog each day. Thanks to your instruction, I’m now going to give Google Reader a whirl. It looks AB FAB.

  6. Colleen:

    Thanks for sharing this video. I subscribe to a couple blogs on Google Reader and enjoyed seeing how you organized all of your folders–b/c I can see that it could be a problem if you didn’t. Mostly, though, I don’t read blogs through an RSS reader…I just create dozens of bookmarks on my Firefox browser and keep checking for new content. I may give Google Reader another try. Thanks again for an informative post.

  7. I think your vlog explains GReader quite well for a beginner. I skimmed ahead a bit when you went to add the other site as an example.

    RSS is awesome. Seems so ridiculous to me now that at one time I was reluctant to use a feed reader. That’s back near 3 years ago when I was stat conscious; I worried that people wouldn’t know I’d been by if I hadn’t left a comment. Now, I’m just not worried about it.

    Thanks for the add-on suggestion. That’s what was new and helpful to me. Perhaps you could do a screencast on your fave Firefox add-ons. I have a few I like, but there are so many it can be overwhelming. I’m sure there’s cool stuff out there I don’t know about/get why it’s cool.

  8. p.s. (I’m commenting from within G.reader- how cool!) Did you show how to make just the stuff you haven’t read show up in the sidebar? I generally leave mine showing just the unread blogs… but then I don’t use folders as much as you so it might not be handy for everyone.

    Just hit the dropdown arrow and select “Show updated.” Just select “Show all” to switch back.

    My apologies if you had that and I just FF’d past it or spaced it. Bedtime here.

  9. Whoa! Great feedback, everyone, and thanks!

    Dave – Thank you! Just downloaded it. I’d missed out on the free PDF download, and this is great, esp. as I’m on a big-ass car trip!

    Tim – I did the same for sites with no RSS, and for a few whose design I liked enough that the experience of clicking over was worth the effort. Gina’s plugins totally (ok—mostly!) changed that for me. It’s still not exactly the same as seeing the real deal, but it’s made browsing via reader much better, esp. with the ability to leave comments from within GR.

    Claire – I hadn’t even seen the “Show Updated” option. Just tried it though, and I can definitely see how it might be useful. People, check out Claire’s tip! And I’ll add an addendum (Dept. of Redundancy Dept.)

  10. Another thought: I use the starred items to favorite stuff I don’t feel like bookmarking but also to flag posts I’ve commented on so that I can check for replies down the line without dealing with email alerts. This works fairly well for me, but I’m always on the lookout for better approaches if you’ve got any ideas.

  11. Thanks for this. Recently directed to your blog via Danielle LaPorte/White Hot Truth. I love the idea of categorizing the blogs by audition, must read, every now and then, etc…this has been EXTREMELY useful for me, since the number of blogs I follow has grown so much in the past few months. AND I love the Firefox addon you mentioned…super great for those pesky summary posters =). Also, thanks also for letting me know to skip ahead to bypass the basics. Lastly, I agree that the video shot of you in the corner is helpful–makes you more personable for those of us who have never met you =)


  12. Frankly, I thought I was doing so well at using Google Reader and organizing all my blogs by type. Always glad to learn a better way of doing something. I’m adding at least two new categories: Audition and Daily. Hope you keep up the teaching videos (wish they were on youtube, though.) Your itunes video also helped me a great deal. Thanks.

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