Reunited (With Blogs) And It Feels So Gooood

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.)


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.


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.

  1. Ruth

    May 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    OMG. This will revolutionize my blog-reading. THANKS!

  2. pdxhadey

    May 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    That is awesome! 4 days ago I discovered Pinterest, then the bookmarks bar, now this! (I totally hear Peabo Bryson in my head singing “A Whole New World.”)

  3. MichelleLG

    May 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    YEY YEY YEY! Sarah you are my hero (heronie? that seems a little Charlotte Bronte to me…hmmm….).
    Anyway, I’ve been doing the love/hate thing with Google Reader too and the Next button is an awesome and much-needed improvement!

  4. Cecily

    May 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    The next button is, indeed, the awesome. See? Here I am commenting! I didn’t comment on blogs for like two years.

  5. Jen the Trephinist

    May 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    SECONDED on the buying of the rice cooker. My boyfriend got me a fancy Zojirushi rice cooker for my birthday, and now I am not at all sure how I lived without it, especially in tandem with my wee crockpot. Perfect rice! Perfect grains! Perfect oatmeal! It’s one of the most useful things in my kitchen.

    I had no idea about the Next button, but it makes me happy. Half the time in Reader, I get confused about who is talking–I’ll think it’s a different blogger than it is, then be like, “Wait, she has three kids? WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?” so thanks for that as well. I’ve been working on loving blogland again after some serious disillusionment, and I think this will help!

  6. verdemama

    May 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Brilliant! I love the randomness of it, too. I follow a lot of blogs with literally thousands of unread posts and I can get overwhelmed by what to read next. I love that it just picks stuff for me.

  7. Kathleen @ Sugar and Spice

    May 5, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    Welcome Home

  8. alimartell

    May 5, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I was introduced to that next button a few weeks ago when I decided I wanted to comment on 20 blogs a day. It’s amazing! It has seriously changed my life :)

  9. regan

    May 5, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    That little button is making it so easy to comment! I love you for giving me the next button gift.

  10. Christina

    May 6, 2011 at 5:24 am

    THANK YOU!!! I loved having all blog posts in one place but missed seeing the creativity of their pages. LOVE this!

  11. jora

    May 6, 2011 at 7:05 am

    This is revolutionary! Thank you so much!

  12. Jody

    May 6, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Thanks so much. Love the next button. Now I just need to leave more comments.

  13. Kirsten @ Triple Max Tons

    May 6, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Oh my goodness, thank you so very much for the TMT shout out, Sarah…I am blushing over here! I had NO CLUE about that Google Reader “Next” button. It’s purely and simply the cherry on top to what you just made my ‘super awesome’ morning. Thank you! :)

  14. Jill

    May 6, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Eureka! Thank you… that definitely makes a difference! I agree on the basic sterility of Google Reader, it really loses the ambiance that made blogging so much fun in the beginning.

  15. whoorl

    May 6, 2011 at 9:41 am

    You guys, I’m so happy that you love it as much as me! I think Marianne’s comment captures my sentiment exactly…I’m “stupid excited!”