Now if you are a regular reader, you know I like to wax lyrical about feedreaders. And unless you are a hardened social media whore such as myself, it is probably nothing to you that Reader posted the following message last week:
“Sorry, all you thousands of people who use our service. Just when you all got comfortable, we thought it might be a complete hoot to pull the rug out from under you. Plus, we can’t be bothered with you any more, so we’re closing. Byyyyyyeeeeeee!”
Or something like that.
I guess they wouldn’t be internet demi-gods unless they acted with a little whimsy and a whole load of arbitrary smiting.
Reader, I confess, is my best friend. Apart from Google documents and searches, it’s the only reason I use Google (alright, that’s as much as a usual person….) and it’s the third thing I do each day.
1. Facebook, in case a celebrity has died or a football match has gone seriously wrong or someone wants to post a funny photo of their dog
2. Hotmail, in case someone wants to give me work via email or in case my Mum wants to say hello and that she loves me
Reader cut out all the nasty revisiting necessity of surfing the internet. Instead of having to surf, it brought you what you were looking for. Exactly what you were looking for. And nothing else.
No revisiting pages hoping for updates. No missing important news. No poring through five hundred stories on Craftgawker that I’ve missed if I didn’t go on a couple of days.
It cuts out all the best bits of the internet, the news I follow, blogs I follow, stories I like, sites I like, and puts it all in a little digital cut-out-and-keep folder.
I say ‘cuts out’, because, after July, it will cease to do so. This present-tense state of things will soon cease.
So, do I go to email alerts, that fill my already-full email account and then risk losing the work notifications in amid the 300 updates I get daily?
Do I go back to checking sites regularly in the hopes there’s the right amount of new stuff?
Do I disconnect from the world and all its news and updates?
I did what any sensible girl would do in a similar situation. I searched for another lover. I started with netvibes which didn’t seem to be that friendly, looked a lot like Hootsuite, which I don’t like and had loads and loads and loads of unnecessary stuff that I couldn’t navigate. I’m just not THAT much of a social media whore.
Then I tried The Old Reader, which was supposed to look like the Old Google Reader, of course, but that crashed. Probably it had everything to do with the other people in the world who are going to desperate lengths to secure a new reader before the old one disappears for good.
Then I got to Feedly, which is “magazine-style” and looks like it should be gracing an ipad or something. It was a bit too shiny and new. I’d kind of got used to the old-fashioned style of google reader. However, it was working, it imported all my reader feeds with one click and so far, I’m loving it.
It did get me thinking about those freebies we take for granted (like WordPress) and how they all survive. Luckily, most of them are monetised, or belong to a company who can afford a little goodwill pro bono software. But then, you would have thought that about Google Reader. Surely Google are minted enough that they could invest a little in this great service? Especially since it means that some people in the world can read stories from ‘banned’ or censored websites via a third party.
They seem to be too busy making shoes that log you in to 4square, or building computer screens in glasses. All important work, I’m sure.
Of course, you just know that busy girls like me are the most affected. Google Reader is a colossal time-saving device. I can sift through loads of news, updates and info (some of it work-related, and lots of it pleasure-related) and just scan the headlines. I don’t have to scroll down the full page or look at adverts or even read by-lines if I don’t want to. Not only that, it’s personalised. As soon as any of the big English newspapers run an education story, it’s in my reader feed. I can save things to read later. I can save stuff I want to read again. It’s the best way to gorge on the Internet in 15 minutes, without having to spend 6 hours visiting all the different sites. If I were a bee, it’s like someone bringing all the best pollen to the hive instead of having to fanny about finding it.
Not only that, we bloggers are often a haphazard and intermittent lot. We post whenever we feel like it, by and large, give or take one or two wonderful bloggers who manage to be regular and interesting. I don’t have to keep visiting a site to keep up.
Other services offer a blog-gathering service, like Hellocotton and Bloglovin. But they don’t include news or other website updates.
So Feedly it is, and I shall keep my fingers crossed that this very useful feed-aggregating malarky doesn’t die like Google Reader has. I like that the news comes to me. Who’d want it any other way?
I know. You might be one of those people who likes to read the news. I don’t. It depresses me. It’s all about bad politicians making criminal decisions, or how much footballers cost. Most of it is very depressing. If I visit a news site, I just get lost in the trash and the misery. Much of the education and autoentrepreneur news is trash and misery, but at least it’s contained.
Is it just me or is the whole stability of the internet on the move? Hotmail turned into some kind of ugly cheap copy of Outlook (which I hate and never use since it looks like it was invented in the 1980s) and now acts and functions as if it has been designed by a four-year-old. MSN Messenger, which I haven’t used for donkeys because they kept changing it and it was MAHOOSIVE and slow, is now Skype. I don’t mind, since I used Skype anyway, but from time to time, I used MSN Messenger to teach when Skype was down, which it can be quite regularly.
Perhaps I’m just getting old and hate change more than the 30 year old, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed version of me did. I might go back to proper newspapers, writing a diary, watching the television and sending letters. Steampunk is the new black, right?