Sunday, May 15, 2016

Returning to Feedly... Maybe?

I've been aware of RSS Feeds going back to my undergrad days at UMF, and subscribed to a number of feeds centering around education, technology, and politics.  I, like many others out there, were deeply saddened at the news of Google Reader's scrapping in 2013.  Like many others, too, I turned to Feedly for my RSS Feed fix.  I stayed on for a short time, but ultimately stopped using the service, in part due to what I felt like was a clunky and uninspired user interface, and in part because I was transitioning into using social media sites like Twitter and Google+ as part of my PLN.

Fast-forward two or so years later, and here I am, back on Feedly, as part of a course assignment.  And I have to say, I like what I see.

On the right side of the screen, you can find "Related Feeds" and "Related
Collections." I've found these only in Magazine View
Some of the features are very similar to what I remember from when I first used the program:  easy account creation using Google or Facebook logins; the ability to organize feeds into collections around broad topics; and the no-frills organization of articles by feed.  There are some cool new features, too, like the ability to view related feeds and public collections in magazine view, allowing you to broaden your reading horizons and learn about new blogs without necessarily needing to go hunting for them (or the RSS feed URL).  Speaking of, I'm also enjoying the fact that we can access other users' collections and troll for new feeds and people to learn from; a twist on the social bookmarking that websites like Digg and introduced as to (though, it looks like creating your own shared collections, along with other features, require a paid subscription).  Integration with Twitter and Facebook is a plus, as is the ability to view articles (with less formatting and fewer distractions) directly in the Feedly window, similar to another service I use, Pocket.  The Feedly Chrome App is handy, too; it allows you to add a feed to your collection directly from the website, instead of having to hunt for the feed URL.  From what I've seen, Feedly has made tremendous strides in succeeding Google Reader as a modern, integrated, social RSS reader.
The Feedly Chrome
App, accessible from
many websites in the
bottom-right corner of
the screen.

And yet, do I see myself continuing on with this service in the long run? Well... probably not, and the reason for why I will likely abandon Feedly in the long run haven't changed from the first time I stopped using it. In essence, social media like Twitter and Facebook already do for me what Feedly does with RSS feeds, and more. While the shared collections feature is nice, that is effectively what social networking is. I am connected with many awesome educators online, and the resources and links that they share with me are basically like an RSS feed, with a wider scope. Many of the feeds that I added to Feedly were based off of accounts for people and organizations that I had already added into lists in Twitter. And, let's face it, it's just plain easier to find a person online than it is an RSS Feed. At the end of the day, when I don't have the time to check my social media and my RSS Feeds, when I have to make the choice about what to do with my time, I'll be on social media, and the unread articles (many of which I'll be reading already) in Feedly will just keep piling on.

Well, since I'm here, and I'm writing this for a homework assignment, here is a list of RSS Feeds that I added to my Feedly account, organized by collection.

3D Printing and Design
Awesome Educators

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