If you’re looking to learn something new or further your knowledge in any subject, this post is for you. There are thousands of other people connecting, sharing and learning about almost anything you can think of. Now is the time to plug yourself into the massive information exchange online.
RSS + The RSS Reader = Totally Cool New World
Real Simple Sydication or RSS is the coolest thing, enabling people to receive automatic updates every time a website publishes content. This allows you, the reader to follow and filter numerous blogs for the content that interests or benefits you the most.
The most poplar reader, and the one I use, is Google Reader. If you haven’t already set up an RSS reader, watch this great common craft video explanation of RSS and then sign up for a Google Reader here. Don’t worry we’ll wait!
RSS in Plain English
If you have any problems setting up Google Reader, visit the Getting Started Guide.
How to Follow a Blog
Now that you have a reader at your ready, it’s time to reach out and find content or authors in your area of interest. Once you find a blog that interests you, look for something that looks like this:
Don’t miss a post, get Social Squared updates by email or .
The or RSS symbol, can usually be found towards the top right hand side of blog (Bloggers should make it very visible). By clicking it, you are given the option to add the blog, and it’s future updates, to your reader. Just select the Google button and choose the “add to reader” button. The Blogs updates should appear when you visit www.google.com/reader
Social Media Starts: 3 Ways to Find Great Blogs to Follow
1. AllTop.com – An “online magazine rack” of popular topics.
AllTop brings thousands of blogs together in a easy to view way. Search by topic and start poking around the blogs you find.If your interests lie in the Social Media world, here’s a great starting point.
The biggest thumbs up for the service are the ease of search, straight forward category system and the fact that blogs are vetted by a human being.
2. Blog Rolls- A Link of Honor
Blog Rolls are where bloggers pay homage to those they follow and admire. Mine is to the right. They’re a great place to find interesting blogs and websites. Once you find a blog you like, look for the blog roll. Sites listed there are essentially “recommended” by the blogs author and represent a great way to find other smart people to follow.
Once you start following a few good blogs, you’ll start to find it easier to discover other great content as you explore posts and blogs. See What is a Blog Roll for a more detailed look.
3. Blog Search
While it’s less user friendly than the above, blog search can give you up to date posts from across the web based on key words. Both Ask.com and Google offer blog search. Try an Ask.com blog search and see what you find. Search based on keywords that are relevant to your interests.
For a comparison of different blog discovery tools check out this ReadWriteWeb post.
How to Comment on a Blog Post: Join the Party
Once you find a blogger or website that you enjoy, start adding to the conversation. Comments are how readers can share their thoughts, opinions or kudos with the author and other readers. The best comments add value to the post. Through sharing your opinion, thoughts or further readings on a subject, you enrich the original post.
All bloggers love comments, even if it’s just a “Great Post!”. Commenting and connecting with bloggers is a big part of most social media strategies, so aim to start relationships early.
Tips for Reading Blogs
“I read good” you might say, but to thee I say use caution. Remember, anyone, you, me anyone, can write a blog. The bar is set incredibly low.
Now, we’re probably smart enough to identify the off base and plain old lame blogs from the rest, but it’s always good for a second or third or thousandth opinion.
The influence of a blog can be roughly determined by the number of subscibers or reads of the blog. Chris Brogan has over 15 000 followers, this blog has 45.The number is usually displayed prominently by the blogger, it gives them web cred. By no means does more subscribers = more knowledgeable, it’s up to you and your human magic of reason to figure that one out.
Social Media Starts: Bonus Thought
Dont Get Bogged Down – It’s best to realize early on that it is not humanly possible to read everything. Focus on posts that interest you, be selective, but be active.
Photo Cred: Dey