I lost that loving feeling for blogs about a year or so ago. Man, I’ve been PINING for the good ol’ days (pre-Twitter/Facebook/13 email accounts/Instagram/Google Reader/Pinterest/iPhone apps/etc.), but let’s face it, the good ol’ days are gone. Nearly six years ago, when I wanted to write about something, I wrote it on this blog. When I wanted to read something, I read it on your blog. Most likely, we left comments and became friendternets. That was fun, wasn’t it? Simpler times, oh friendternets. Now, it’s random observations jammed into 140 characters and/or a sentence or two underneath an iPhone photo and/or Twitter parties and/or gahhhhhhh, I’m totally turning into a crabby old hag.
At first, I thought that Google Reader would help to simplify my time spent online by creating a one-stop shop blog reading platform. And it did for awhile, but over time, I would amass 300-600 unread blog posts, become totally overwhelmed, and click the lame ‘Mark All As Read’ button. When I DID have time to read posts, I couldn’t even remember what blog I was reading due to the generic, clinical-looking feed reader template. Whose blog is this? How did I find this blogger? Why am I reading this? What was the connection that drew me to this person in the first place?
I think Kristen put it best when she wrote:
See, reading blogs in Google Reader is efficient, but it’s a little cold. You miss the full experience of seeing the post where it was meant to be. It’s kind of like eating take-out instead of eating in the restaurant. You miss the ambiance. It also makes it harder to comment.
Right on. Considering the overwhelming majority of blogs that I read are lifestyle/design blogs, I was doing myself such a disservice by reading posts without actually visiting the blog where it was meant to be read. Plus, what were the chances that I would click through to leave a comment? Slim to none. On the other hand, I don’t have enough time in the day to visit all the blogs I love, in hopes that a new post may or may not be up.
Okay, I’m going somewhere with this, I promise! Thanks to Kristen, she wrote a post entitled, “if you read blogs, you should read this,” and it included a tip about the Google Reader Next Button. (She also wrote a great post on awesome smoothie recipes for kids who despise veggies, aka WITO, and she’s the reason I bought a rice cooker. Kind of stalking her right now.)
GOOGLE READER NEXT BUTTON, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.
Now, I can click a little button in my browser toolbar and it will take me directly to the next chronological blog post in my reader queue. At the actual website, where it was meant to be read. Wahoo!
Here’s an example (click photo to enlarge):
Here’s one of my favorite newish blogs, Triple Max Tons. Instead of reading Kirsten’s post on a generic feed reader page like before, I experience it on her darling website where I get to see her face, as well as all the links and info that she has provided to readers. (Like the fact that she has a Pinterest account. I wouldn’t have known that without visiting her blog.) After I’ve read her post, I click the Next button in my toolbar, and I’m off to the next chronological post in my queue. Shazam!
However, the best part is when I have read everything in my queue and see this page.
THE END OF THE INTERNET. Heh.
People, it’s like old school blog-hopping with with a side of modern convenience. I’m enjoying blogs again, I’m commenting again, and all’s well in the blogosphere. (Except for the fact that I just used the term “blogosphere.”)
Check out the Next Button. Set up a Google Reader account if you don’t have one. Then go here, and click on the Goodies tab. It’s under “Put Reader in a Bookmark.” I think you might like it. Now I’m off to dream up a new whoorl design, as this one is gathering cobwebs.
AnnikaMay 5, 2011 at 10:52 am
I FORGOT ABOUT THAT! Sorry, that required yelling. Because I am SO EXCITED to be reminded! I had the Next button on my old computer but I didn’t migrate my bookmarks.
MarthaMay 5, 2011 at 11:00 am
When I started reading this post I got anxious and thought, I hope she knows about the next button! Hooray! It is the best thing ever – I read about it on Heather Bailey (fabric designer)’s blog. I have gotten all my sisters started in Google Reader and they love it. I’ve also added the “subscribe” button to my toolbar so that if I’m at a blog I want to add I can just hit subscribe and it takes me to GooRead to add it.
MichelleMay 5, 2011 at 11:09 am
As I was reading I kept thinking, I’m totally going to comment and tell her about the NEXT button! Bloglife changing! It is quite possibly my very favorite thing invented by Google ever.
MichelleMay 5, 2011 at 11:09 am
PS Totally reading you via the next button.
ChristinaMay 5, 2011 at 11:20 am
I learned something new today. Love Google Reader for its efficiency but I’ve missed the actual sites, and rarely comment. Thank you for this!
MarianneMay 5, 2011 at 11:23 am
This is kind of blowing my mind. I love that Google Reader keeps all my blogs in one place so I remember to check them, but it kills commenting. Kills! I am stupid excited about this.
MaryMay 5, 2011 at 11:48 am
THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU! I love that Reader keeps my blogs all organized, but I hate the truncated posts and bland text that you get with it, plus I’m less likely to comment when I have to click through. This is just lovely!
Jill BrowningMay 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm
THANK YOU! I love Google Reader, but I missed looking at all of the pretty blogs. This is a revelation. Best think I’ve found since my husband taught me to left click/”open in new tab”.
S to the KMay 5, 2011 at 12:04 pm
Holy SHIT you just blew my mind! Here’s the thing, I have been secretly loving-slash-hating google reader for what feels like forever now. It helps organize my life but it’s so ‘meh’ … It’s like Ikea.
Now that I know about the ‘next’ button I can give people some page views and hell, it got my ass to come over here and comment AND yes, it helps remind me who the hell is attached to which black text. And I haaaaate blogs on reader that only provide a snippet. You know what I do? I read the 10 sentences and move on to the next blog. I don’t have time for all this back and forth clicking shit. Now I just ‘next’!
I LOVE YOOOUUUUU!!
AbbyMay 5, 2011 at 12:06 pm
I actually love using Rockmelt (http://www.rockmelt.com/) as my web browser for that reason. It’s basically Google Chrome, but on the left side is the list of people available for Facebook chat, and on the right, my favorite part: a little icon list of whatever blog feeds you want to put on there, with a small number next to each icon of how many unread posts there are. It’s all right there and you can click, look at the preview, and decide if you wanted to read it after all or not. You can also save any link to “view later” if you don’t have the time now. Love it!
Here’s a screenshot example (not mine): http://aobblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/RockMelt1.jpg They don’t have a lot of stuff on the right side, but you get the idea.
JanssenMay 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm
Okay, you’ve convinced me! I even HAVE the Next button on my toolbar but haven’t really used it . .
MaggieMay 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm
I must be broken. I keep track of all my blogs in Google Reader, but always right click (or double click on my mac) and open the blog in a new tab. I can’t stand reading someone’s thoughts without hanging out in their blog home. (And perhaps this is one of the reasons I dislike tumblr – the sameness of it all?)
But, omg, that next button might save me from some repetitive stress injuries.
JenMay 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm
THANK YOU! That was the best thing I have learned all week!!!!!!
AngellaMay 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm
BRILLIANT. (Just like you.)
agirlandaboyMay 5, 2011 at 2:03 pm
Hooray for peopel actually visiting blogs again (and leaving comments!) (and making friends!)!