Let’s say you have some favorite blogs. Maybe some tech blogs, some that focus on a state you’re researching, a few from your favorite libraries, and one that thinks that no story is too small. (Yes, that was a shameless bit of self-promotion.) Now let’s say that you want easy access to all of their latest and greatest posts. How can you keep up with all of them? Answer: a blog reader
A blog reader, sometimes called an RSS reader, lets you add your favorite blogs and then pulls in their articles as they’re published. All of that content is pulled into one place. Some readers use your browser; others are stand-alone applications. Most will let you categorize the blogs you follow. You could put your favorite genealogy blogs in one list and your favorite photography blogs in another. Blog readers are invaluable for following multiple blogs. It’s how I keep track of the 270+ blogs that have said they’re taking the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.
Until recently, my favorite blog reader was Google Reader. Sadly, and inexplicably, Google decided to kill it off. My current reader of choice is Feedly, which is free and runs in your browser. (There’s also an Android and iOS app.)
When someone tells me that they’re taking the 52 Ancestors Challenge, I enter their blog into Feedly and put it in the “52 Ancestors Challenge” category. Whenever there’s a new article on that blog, it automatically shows up in my list on Feedly.
Here is a screenshot of part of my feed from earlier today. There are many display options. I currently have it set to show just the posts that I haven’t read. You can also have it display in a more graphical mode. I like the list view. It gives me the name of the blog (on the left), the post’s title (shown in bold), and the first few words of the post. It makes it easy to scan for the posts I’m looking for.
If you’ve been following along with the 52 Ancestors Challenge, you’ve probably heard me say “Be sure to include ’52 Ancestors’ somewhere in the title of your posts.” This is so I can spot those posts in Feedly. It doesn’t grab just the 52 Ancestors posts; Feedly grabs all of the posts from the blogs that I’ve told it I want to follow. Without having “52 Ancestors” in the title, I have no way of knowing if it’s supposed to be in the weekly recap. (Well, I could go in and read each article from each blog, but as much as I’d like to, there are only so many hours in the day.)
Long story short: if you want your challenge posts to make it into the weekly recap, put “52 Ancestors” somewhere in the post’s title.
If you have several blogs you enjoy following, give a reader like Feedly a try. It will make finding all of their new posts a lot easier!