March 4, 2009

The art of following a blog

Posted in blogging tagged , , , at 1:40 am by mknight1130

A few days ago, I received an email from an writer and contact who was wondering how to go about following or subscribing to a blog. My first thought was someone, like a band groupie or avid fan, travels through cyberspace to find you and your latest posts. Google seems to have a similar definition at http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=104226. However, unlike a band groupie, a blog follower does not need to keep a concert schedule pinned to the wall with important dates circled. Through Real Simple Syndication (RSS) or an Atom, software applications, typically known as a reader, notify the blog follower of new posts. These reader make it easy to follow different blogs and to keep current by tracking. The question becomes how do I know which reader to use and which steps to follow. Here are two sites that can provide some insights.

The first site, RSS and Atom Feeds: Stay Current: Galter Health Sciences Library, at http://www.galter.northwestern.edu/Guides-and-Tutorials/rss-atom is created and maintained by Northwestern. It is fairly current, last update in December 2008; so, the tools should be pertinent to today. The site gives a brief, straightforward, description of RSS with a visual of the RSS symbol. A sampling of about 15 readers are provided and categorized under Web-based readers, Stand-alone readers, Firefox Add-ons and Email-based readers. A link to more comprehensive RSS readers is provided for those who wish more details. Instructions on how to use a reader to subscribe to a blog is provided in a simple paragraph. As an additional bonus, several medical blogs are suggested as a way to keep track of current developments.  Northwestern has done a great job instructing their students and professors, as well as other visitors, on the steps to go about subscribing to a blog.

For those who like screen shots along with instructions on how to subscribe, I recommend Humphrey blog digest at http://blog.hhh.umn.edu/subscribe-rss.php . The Hubert H, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, associated with the University of Minnesota, maintains this site. It is a non-profit dedicated to researching public issues. As such, it is a reputable source.  The how to subscribe guide, provides bulleted lists Web-based, Windows, Mac OS X, and Browser-based feeds. It would be nice if recommendations on news feeds  specifically provided for a Linux OS appeared, but that is not the case. Following the recommendations, are specific steps on how to subscribe to a blog using a browser, including screenshots of each step. Thereis a sample screenshot of a feed reader. I think the Humphrey site is a gem, in matching visual images with written steps.

It turned out, upon communicating with my writer contact, that Google Reader was used to track blogs. I found the instructions and emailed him the steps. But, upon writing this post , it is good to know that there are many options in following and subscribing to blogs. The steps are easy too. It is amazing at how seemlessly a blog can be followed.

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4 Comments »

  1. Sarah said,

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Sarah

    http://www.lyricsdigs.com

  2. Simonn said,

    Thanks for posting these useful information. Keep them coming

  3. You might enjoy my book, “The Mandolin Case.” The subtitle is “Country Doctors, Honest Lawyers, and True Music.”

    The story is a medical legal mystery solved by local musicians. It has many lessons.

    Dr. B


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