Activity 4 Task 2 – Keep up to date by subscribing to blogs

mouse-1018655_640 (1)In addition to building a professional network to keep abreast of what is happening in their industry and/or profession, many people regularly read the blog posts that are written by thought leaders, practitioners, vendors and others.

Read: Professional learning goals and blog reading: a framework

For some, reading a blog post is just a random experience – that is they just come across a blog post by accident, whilst others make a point of subscribing to blogs so that they are notified of all the posts written by that blogger. This provides them with a constant drip-feed of information and news about their industry or profession.

Finding blogs

It is likely many people in your PLN write blogs, so have a look at their profiles and see if you can find some blogs of interest.

Read: 10 tips for discovering new blogs

Subscribing to blogs in an RSS feed reader

If you want to keep up to date with new content on a website or blog, it can take precious time continuously visiting it to check out if anything new has been posted. It is much easier for the website or blog to alert you when there is new content.  You can do this by subscribing to the blog or website’s RSS feed – RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.

Read:  Newspaper 2.0: Your Guide To RSS

rss-35468_640A feed on a blog (or website) is often marked with an orange RSS icon (like the one to the left) or a piece of text like “RSS Feed” or “Subscribe here”. The RSS feed itself is generated in XML format, so what you need is a tool to convert it into something readable.

There are a number of different ways to read an RSS feed. For instance you can do so in an up-to-date version of a web browser or you can use a special reader that also lets you manage and monitor all the feeds to which you have subscribed – and keep up with the constant flow of new blog posts.

The most popular RSS reader (according to the Top 100 Tools for Learning) is Feedly.

To find out more, read 6 ways to get the right content on your feedly

Subscribe to your favourite blog(gers) , e.g. using a RSS reader like Feedly

Tips for managing blog feeds

Here are some tips for managing blog feeds in your RSS reader:

  • Try to spend regular time on reading your posts each day and at a regular time, to form a habit.
  • Are you trying to read every word? Don’t!  Skim and Scan. Scan the headlines of the posts and only if they look interesting, expand the post and skim the extract. If the extract looks interesting, click through to the original post on the site. Skim and Scan again, to decide whether to read it in full.
  • Display updated feeds only – that way you can keep your RSS Reader as clean as possible.
  • If you are unable to keep on top of your posts, then simply Mark All As Read.
  • Don’t suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Don’t worry, if there was something important in the list, it will come back to you in another way. Good posts are re-posted or tweeted about – the good stuff rises to the top. But it is more important for you to feel in control of your reading, not be overwhelmed by it.
  • If you feel you are being inundated with new information in your blog feeds, why not unsubscribe from some of them.

Other ways to use your RSS reader

You don’t just use your RSS reader for reading blog posts, there are other ways you can make use of it as a personal tool.

  • To find out the latest news – All the major newspapers provide news feeds, so it means you don’t have to read a newspaper any more (unless you want to!)
  • To be notified about jobs or contract positions – If you want to be one of the first to see new jobs and contract positions subscribe to the news feeds at job sites.
  • To read books – Some very large books can also be read in digestible (15 minute) chunks via RSS, e.g. DailyLit 
  • To get regular podcasts – Subscribe to audio feeds to receive a regular podcast.
  • To get training content sent to you – If the course is being delivered on a drip-feed basis.

Task

In a new entry in your Learning Log, write about your experience subscribing to blogs using a feed reader, like Feedly.