Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WotW: Feed me... Feedly

Happy Wednesday! Thanks for joining me for another segment of Wednesdays on the Web. We're almost done with Feed Me month... almost. :) Today I want to share my one true (feed reader) love, Feedly, with you and then next week I'll share some more about the goodies in Feedburner. If you've missed a post or want to re-read one, here's what we've done so far:
 Feedly isn't your typical feed reader. And I'm not just saying that because I like it. Rather than being strictly web-based or desktop-based, Feedly is both: it's browser-based.

Feedly works through your web browser as an add-on, a little program that you install in your browser that adds some function to your browser. (Remember way back when we talked about add-ons here?) Feedly is available for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari (sorry, Internet Explorer users... just another reason to convert ;).

To install Feedly, just go to in one of those three browsers and click the Get Feedly button. Installation is fast and easy, but you may have to click Allow, Install Now, or something similar to tell your browser that, yes, you know you're installing something and, yes, you want it.

Once Feedly has been installed, restart your browser and you should see that lovely green on-its-side square (like this -->) up by your address bar (the exact location may vary depending on your settings and browser). Click on that button to be magically transported to Feedly!

 If you've been using Google Reader or have a Google account (which most likely you do), click the orange Log in with Google button and log in using your Google account username and password. Otherwise, click Create Account and create your account.And, yes, it is true -- you will be up and running in less than a minute. Feedly is very user-friendly, with a great support community. I'm walking you through it today just because I can. :)

Once you're logged in, you'll see your Feedly home page. I'll show you how to customize that here in a minute, but for now, you'll see one of two layouts: either "normal" or "narrow". Seeing two different layouts at different times threw me for a huuuge loop until I consulted the help forums about it... yesterday. :) Now I understand:

Normal view will show your categories to the left and options at the top. 

 Narrow view, to accommodate narrower screens or browser windows, puts everything up above, converts some categories to icons, and adds a drop-down menu for the options that used to have the whole top area to themselves:

If you specifically prefer one layout over the other or just prefer that it NOT switch, you can choose which layout by clicking on Preferences (either at the top or under the arrow drop-down menu) and selecting either top navigation (for the narrow view) or left navigation (for the normal view) from the Navigation Layout section, almost at the bottom of the Preferences page.

While we're on the Preferences page, let's set a few of your Preferences. Scroll back up to the top of the page and look at the options under the General heading. (I'll let you explore all those other preferences on your own, but let me know if you have questions.)

In the Start Page section, you have 5 views to choose from. The view you determine here will be the view that you will first see when you click that Feedly icon and log in.

With the exception of Must Reads, all of the views are available as a category within Feedly and easy to click to. Must Reads, however, doesn't have a shortcut or link, so if you want to be able to see only the items from the blogs you mark as must reads (which I'll explain in a minute), you need to set your start page to Must Reads. Other than that, these views, either when selected or when clicked to, go like this:
  • Cover shows you the original "magazine-like start page" featuring your favorite, must-read, and most-read sources.
  • Digest is basically a shortened-up Cover view.
  • Latest shows you all of the latest updates, configured how you like (and I'll explain that in a minute, too)
  • Contents is like a table of contents, showing you how many unread items you have from each source.
Okay, now that we've taken care of that... a small tour of Feedly.

When you log in with your Google account, all of your subscriptions from Google Reader are shared with Feedly, and any subscription changes that you make (unsubscribing, changing groups, etc) in Feedly are also changed in Google Reader. So, keep that in mind.

To add a new subscription, click on the little +add button in the top right corner (it stays there regardless of normal or narrow). Enter the blog address or site URL, let Feedly do its thing, and, like magic, you can subscribe to not only the blog or site you were looking for, but also other similar blogs/sites. Feedly is just that smart!

Just click the little +add with the green arrow and select what group(s) you want the subscription in AND if you want it to be a must read or not. Click the X in the top right corner to close the subscription search window.

To manage your current subscriptions, click Organize Sources (top right or under the arrow menu). This will show you all of your current subscriptions, organized alphabetically by group. Click the star to mark the subscription as a must read, the pencil to edit the subscription (such as changing the name), or the X to unsubscribe. You can also drag-and-drop each subscription into a new group.

To read your subscriptions, just click on the Feedly icon and click on the item title to expand to full-text. Click again on the title to visit the original post at the blog itself (to leave all those comments ;).

Select one of the different views, as explained above, to see a different layout of your unread items, or click Saved or the little bookmark icon to see your saved items. Save items by clicking either the little blue save link on an item's blurb or the little bookmark icon at the top of the full-text item.You can also bookmark or share an item with an external service (such as my fave, Delicious) using these little icons at the top and bottom of the full-text article:

As you read your subscriptions, Latest is the view where you have the most options, and it is the view that I use once I've read all of my front-page must-read items. To access the Latest page options, click the pencil icon (top right) while in Latest view. From that menu, you can choose a layout (view) for the page, mark large groups of items unread (which is sometimes necessary to save sanity :), and select two filters: unread only and oldest first. I prefer to read the oldest items first so that I feel "caught up" but that's a personal preference.

Each subscription also has a specific page in Feedly with some options of its own. You'll access that page and those options by clicking on the name of the blog or site, which will take you to a page with that name at the top and only the items from that subscription. Clicking on the pencil icon here gives you a few different options:

One of my *favorite* options ever is the option to Open In Website Directly. Unless this option is selected for the specific blog, Feedly works like a regular feed reader, where one click on the title expands to the full text and another click will take you to the original post. For blogs where I comment less often, that works great. But, for the handful of blogs that I comment on every day, every post, I'd love to save a couple clicks.

So, for each of those blogs that I always comment on, I've selected Open In Website Directly. Now, clicking on the title of an item from one of those blogs opens the post in a new browser tab, so I'm already there at the blog post, ready to leave a witty/empathetic/kind comment.

And that's the basics of Feedly -- any questions? Let me know!
Happy December!

PS - Just a little Facebook tip: Tis the season for sending holiday greeting cards and the address-gathering that comes with it. The Facebook message system is a great way to gather addresses, but to make sure that only the sender (not the 500 other recipients whose addresses are also being gathered) receives your reply, just click the little blue Reply by the sender's name instead of the big blue Reply All button:
Happy holidays!

Lu (or Lorene if you prefer) is the mom of one squirmy boy and the wife of a singing and dancing elementary teacher. She is the proud author of this weekly Wednesdays on the Web (WotW) segment here on Housewife Eclectic and spends the other days of the week blogging about crafts and whatever else comes up at just Lu.
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