As I hope everybody knows, Google Reader will close down on Monday.
This means that something like half of you lovely Status-Q readers have just a few days in which to make alternative arrangements, or you’ll find your supply of Status-Q posts, and indeed those from any other blog or similar feed, will suddenly go very quiet next week.
So, assuming you’d like to keep having sensational new content delivered to you regularly without having to keep visiting all those web sites by hand, what can you do?
Well, one option is to find another RSS reader. (RSS is a machine-readable format that websites can make available, saying which articles have been published recently and when.) There are lots of good RSS-reading programs out there, for every platform – things like Reeder, Flipboard, NetNewsWire… to name just three – and all you need to do is open your favourite one and tell it that you’d like to subscribe directly to:
and you’re away. If it’s a clever app, you may just be able to say ‘statusq.org’ and it’ll work the rest out for itself.
This is great if you have just one or two places in which you read all of your news. But the reason Google Reader was popular was that you could access it on multiple devices and from various apps, and it would remember which feeds you had subscribed to and which articles you had read, and keep them all in sync so you didn’t need to duplicate things everywhere. If you want that functionality now, you need to pick one of the alternative services that are springing up to take Reader’s place.
There’s an episode of the Mac Power Users podcast which looks into some of the alternatives (and will be relevant for non-Mac-users too). A quick summary is that the ones they liked most were probably Feed Wrangler and Feedbin but there are alternatives like Feedly discussed too. Which one works best for you will depend largely on whether you have a favourite feed-reading app which needs to support it, or whether you prefer to use a web interface. Many of these services have a direct ‘Import my feeds from Google Reader’ button to make life easy for you.
Here’s the bad news – most of them cost money. But it’s generally a very small amount, and by having lots of good stuff to read, you’ll probably save that much on iPhone apps you might otherwise be tempted to buy and then forget. And remember, you won’t be giving all that data about your personal interests to Google any more…
I don’t tend to post here very frequently, so I automatically send out a message on the social networks with each new post. If you don’t already, why not follow me on Twitter, on App.net or on Facebook? That’s a good way to track other authors as well, but you’ll only see posts as they whizz past in the stream – it’s harder to find quality material to enjoy in a more contemplative fashion over coffee on a Sunday morning… so you may want to do the RSS thing as well.
Or perhaps you prefer such material in your email inbox…?
If you don’t know If This Then That, it’s a service where you can set up rules (‘recipes’) to do all sorts of clever things like “If I’m tagged in an image on Facebook, save it to my Dropbox folder”.
You can also connect to RSS feeds like this one and have it take action when there’s something new posted. If you have an IFTTT account, it’s really easy: here’s a recipe that will email you any new Status-Q posts.
Anyway, that’s a few ideas to get you started. Feel free to post other ideas for post-Reader alternatives in the comments.
But the important thing is to take action now…