I spent half of yesterday and all this morning finishing up my testing of different feed reader replacements and officially switching over.
As I have said on this blog many times, the RSS feed is a librarian's best friend. I need to know what is going on in so many different arenas, a large portion of which are outside my personal areas of interest and/or expertise, but having a computer compile the information for me, all in one place, at all times which I can access from any computer or smart phone makes the job more manageable, makes me better at my job, and allows me to appear smarter than I am.
For years I have used Google Reader to do this, mostly out of laziness. Since this blog is hosted on Google, I could login once to access multiple services. Now, I knew Google Reader wasn't the best feed reader out there, but again, ease of use was a huge benefit to me.
But now, with Google discontinuing the Reader in July, I was forced into action. After some initial research before my vacation (this article was the most useful for me) I had narrowed the search down to 2 services: Feedly and Net Vibes. In the end I chose Net Vibes, but what works for me may not work for you. To that end, I will explain what I saw as the positive and negative about each and explain why I made the choice I did.
First, Feedly. I was initially drawn to Feedly because of its touted seamless integration across platforms. It seemed that you got the same experience on a computer vs iPhone vs iPad. This was intriguing to me. Also, a few other bloggers I follow mentioned how well it was working for them. And, it took only 1 click for it to import my entire Google Reader data.
However, I hit a few snags with Feedly. First, it is a app, not a cloud program. So you have to download the app on your phone and add it as an app to your browser. Here is where I hit the biggest snag. The phone was no problem. I got the app running and was reading my feeds. But, I have to say, I did not like the flashy interface (very much like Flipboard) to access my feeds. When it comes to scanning my feeds, I want it to be simple text that I can move through, mark the ones I need to go back to, and quickly clear out the junk.
But that was just the phone app. I only access my feeds via the phone once or twice a week. I mostly am looking through my feeds as I am working on the computer at home or work. Between the 2 locations I have 4 computers I use almost daily and 2 more I access regularly. That is 6 computers to load the app onto. To make matters more difficult, I work at the public library. Four of those computers are at that library. I need the IT guy to not only give me permission to install Feedly to my browser, but I need him to do it for me. We cannot add anything to the computers without him. I thought of asking him to do it on one, but then I realized I would also need the browser to be regularly updated for it to keep working, and this too is tricky. Ahhh, too much extra work and hassle
I did try Feedly out at home though. Again I found it too flashy for my needs so I decided not to pursue the matter until I test drove Net Vibes to have a comparison.
Net Vibes made my final trials because the research I did said that it most closely resembled Google Reader in look (if you took off the default Widget mode (the flashy one) and put it in Reader mode; that took only one click). It is a cloud reader, meaning I can access it from any Internet connection anywhere. The mobile version is web based, not an app which is fine with me.
I have begun to set up the Net Vibes, but am having some trouble exporting my Google Reader data. Their directions are not jiving with what information I am getting on Google's screen. But for now, I was simply playing with its look and setting up my categories: General, RA, Horror, and Teen. I am also toying with the idea of NOT exporting my Google Reader data. I figure since I have a few months, I can slowly move things over to Net Vibes and do some spring cleaning of resources while I am at it.
So far I really like the clean, data first look for the reader. It also have plenty of ways I can catalog and organizes my feeds; a dream come true to a librarian. I have to admit, I went away on vacation very worried about what I would do about Google Reader ending and dreaded having to deal with it on my return, but I think it is all going to be okay.
I hope this post helps some of you who still have to make the switch. Or, even better, if you aren't already using a feed reader to help you to manage the most information possible, give one of these options a try for yourself. Back to regular reading based posts tomorrow.
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