RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, is a web feed format that helps readers keep up with frequently updated content, like blogs. RSS feeds must be read through an aggregator such as Google Reader. By allowing you to subscribe to many different news sites and blogs, Google Reader offers a place for you to view that content in an organized fashion. New content from those sites will be automatically sent to your Google Reader. Although most websites have RSS feeds, you’ll occasionally discover a site that you are not able to subscribe to.
Setting up and using Google Reader is easy:
Step 1: Set up your account
You must have a Google account to use Google Reader. If you already have one, simply go to google.com/reader. If you do not have a Google account already, you can create one here.
Step 2: Add subscriptions
Click the red “Subscribe” button on the left and paste the URL for the first site you wish to receive updates from. The name of the blog or site will appear in the left hand column. Hover over the newly added subscription and you’ll see a down arrow appear on the right. From this menu, you can rename the subscription, add it to a folder, unsubscribe, etc.
Blogs aren’t the only types of content you can add to the reader. The URLs for Twitter searches, google blog searches, Flickr, YouTube and more can all be added to the reader. This makes the reader a one-stop-shop for keeping up with what is happening in your industry or department.
Step 3: Organize using folders
Once you have added subscriptions, you can create folders on your Google Reader to organize them.
Click on the small arrow beside the subscription you want to put into a folder. Of the options that appear, one says, “New folder…”
Click “new folder,” choose a name for the folder and hit “OK.” Once folders have been created, you can then drag and drop subscriptions into them.
Clicking the arrow next to the folder name gives you more options for the folder, including how to sort, renaming, or setting as the start page.
Step 4: Get comfortable and begin monitoring
Whenever new content is added to the URLs you’ve subscribed to, it will appear in your reader. The reader automatically marks stories as read as you scrolling through folders, but you can change that in settings, if you’d like. You can also view all stories or only unread stories, mark all items as read, and change the display.
Play around with the settings until you feel comfortable and have the information that will be most valuable to you. Then, keeping up with Tufts news will be a breeze!
You can access a small bundle of Tufts blogs and related sites here. Subscribing to this bundle will automatically add these 20 or so resources to your Google Reader. You can edit, delete, rename or rework the subscriptions in any way you like once subscribed.