No matter what field we're in, it's easy to take it for granted that everyone knows what we know. But a couple of recent emails have made us realize that everyone might not know all the ways to follow a blog. Obviously you know how to find us, or else you wouldn't be reading this. But you may not be aware of all the options available. Here are some of the most popular ways to keep up with the news.
RSS feeds. One of the things that make a blog a blog is the RSS feed. Simply put, an RSS feed delivers the content of a web site automatically, whenever the site changes, to anyone who subscribes to it . That way there's no need to check a web site every day to see if there's anything new. A quick look at your feed reader will tell you which, if any, of the blogs you're following have anything new for you.
Feed readers. One of the most popular feed readers is Bloglines. Bloglines allows you to subscribe to lots of feeds and even lets you set your feeds up in folders. When there's something new, the blog's listing shows up in bold type with the number of new items in parentheses ( ). There's a search tool that lets you look for a post or a feed by key word. If you click on the "Subscribe to my feed" link on the right side of this page, you'll be taken to a page that lets you sign up for the RSS feed very easily. Every blog should have a similar link.
Another popular choice is the Google Reader. Google Reader works much like Bloglines with one big advantage. You can subscribe to all your favorite blogs just like you can with Bloglines, with many of the same features. But, if you have a personal Google home page, you can add the reader to your homepage and see your new blog posts right there.
Both Bloglines and Google Reader are online feed readers. That means there is no software to install on your computer. If you'd rather use an offline reader, there are several available. Most of them are free, but some aren't. There's no single best choice. It just depends on what you like best.
Email notification. Another way to keep up with Mine Your Own Business is to enter your email address in the box on the right under the heading "Get Email Updates from MYOB". If you subscribe using this tool, you'll receive an email every day that there's been a new post or posts. This is especially handy if you don't want to use an RSS reader. Each email contains a link to that days post(s).
Like everything else on the Internet, blog readers are constantly being upgraded and new ones introduced. Just recently Bloglines has introduced a new interface that has some neat features. You can opt for the new version on their homepage. About.com offers a list of their top 10 choices here. Of course, different people have different opinions about which ones are best. Search Google for "RSS Readers" for more opinions.
Browsers. Even the newest version of Internet Explorer (IE 7)has a built-in RSS utility. The RSS logo on the IE7 toolbar turns from grey to orange when a page you're visiting has an RSS feed. All you have to do is click that orange icon and the page will be added to your list of feeds. To check the feeds you've subscribed to, just click the drop-down arrow next to the icon.
Mozilla's Firefox browser also offers an RSS reader that integrates into the browser. It's called Sage. Sage is an add-in that turns the browser into a feed reader. Sage's list of subscribed sits appears in the Firefox sidebar. Clicking on a bold link opens the feed in the main browser window.
There are a lot of options for reading your favorite blogs. Experiment with a few and decide which one's best for you. Just be sure that whatever method you use to grab your favorite feeds that Mine Your Own Business is one of them.