How would you like personalized information that gives you only the blogs you’d like at your fingertips? With an RSS feed, you can have exactly that. But what is this RSS feed thing all about? It’s only the coolest thing ever and acts like your very own newspaper front page. Newspapers used to be these arcane things made of paper that were delivered to your front door every morning, that had the news actually printed on them. Now we have something just as radical as that newspaper, but updated instantly on your smart phone, tablet, or computer. It’s made possible by something called RSS, formerly called Rich Site Summary, but now commonly called Really Simple Syndication. But before we get into the “how to”, let’s first ask “why?”
Garbage In, Garbage Out
Why should we bother curating our information flow? One of our most valuable assets is time and there is only so much of it. This is all part of optimizing our lives (see related post on making and managing) and focusing on sources of information that add value. For example, I was a long-time subscriber to the New York Times, but cancelled my subscription the day after the election. I had liked nothing better than to have a cup of coffee and read that physical newspaper in the morning. There was something about the tactile sense of a newspaper that was better than reading online. However, I felt that given the results of the election, I was not getting objective news and that something the paper had totally missed what was going on in the country. In fact, the editors of the newspaper were actively campaigning for one candidate and wrote many editorials about why that candidate was the right one. That’s not what I want in a newspaper; I want one that at least attempts to be objective. That’s part of the beauty of RSS aggregators. You can assess blogs and other sources and add or trim them from that aggregator to receive the best content for you. Speaking of curating things…
How to Set It Up
I’ve been using an app called “Feedly” which is a free app available in the App Store. There are Android equivalents and Web-based versions, but I’ll zero in on how to set up Feedly, for now. Once you’ve downloaded Feedly from the App Store to your smart phone, walk through the start-up screens provided by Feedly. To add a favorite blog, type in the search terms then click on the magnifying glass in the upper right of your screen, then hit the plus sign when Feedly finds your favorite blog. One of my favorite features organizes the blog posts on my smart phone in chronological order starting from the most recent to oldest. Click on the parallel lines in the upper left of your screen, then click “All.” That will organize your incoming blog posts from most current to oldest.
Some useful blogs on my Feedly app and what they are about
Colby Aviation Thrillers (terrific blog by new author & Amazon Best Seller, see our interview with him here)
Horicon Marsh Nature Photography (absolutely beautiful photography)
Mr. Money Mustache (financial independence guru)
Pure Living for Life (how to homestead from scratch)
The Blog of Tim Ferriss (lifestyle design & traits of successful people)
The Minimalists (how to simplify)
Traughber Design (where woodworking and entrepreneurship meet)
The Wood Whisperer (probably best site I’ve found for learning WW)
Well, I hope that was useful for you. What blogs are you following?