The Book Publicity Blog

News, Tips, Trends and Miscellany for Book Publicists

How to set up an RSS reader in two minutes — Part I

I think I just read probably the 375th post about SXSW — that’s the South by Southwest festival in Austin — pretty much all of which mentioned blogging, social networking, gadgets, laptops, feeds, you name it.  This was a music festival.  (I wonder what they’ll be discussing at a technology convention like TED — time machines??)

Avant Guild weighed in on SXSW in yesterday’s newsletter: “You owe it to yourself to start learning about and using outlets like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and anything else that allows you to spread the word and create conversation about the great work you’re doing.”

As a publicist, before you even consider following blogs, know that without an RSS reader you will not be able to do so.  An RSS reader allows you to read newsfeeds, all in one place, from blogs and other websites (print, radio, TV) — it’s like going to the library to read all of your magazines, except this library is online.  (RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.)

Setting up an RSS reader really doesn’t take much time, but I know there are a lot of you who want to do it but haven’t yet gotten around to it, so just follow the links in my posts (second and final part to come on Monday) and you’ll be set up in a couple minutes.

There are three main ways to set up an RSS reader:

1. Bloglines: Click here to register.

2. Google Reader: Click here for more information.  (You can use your existing Google / GMail account to log in.)

3. Your browser: You’ll notice that many websites have an orange button with squiggly white lines.  If you click on the button, that site’s feed is automatically sent to the RSS reader built into your web browser.  It’s simpler because you needn’t add individual URLs to a reader, but it’s less flexible because you can only access your feeds on the one computer.  (With Bloglines and Google, you can log in from any computer — or cell phone with web access.)

I personally have Bloglines, but only because I was copying someone else.  I know people who prefer Bloglines, others who prefer Google, and still others who find that the simplicity of adding sites to their browser’s reader far outweighs the lack of portability.  Do whatever works best for you — it’s important that you set up and use a reader.  How you get there doesn’t much matter.

On Monday I’ll list some websites you can start adding to your reader.

March 21, 2008 Posted by | Blogs, Media Monitoring, RSS | , , | 1 Comment