The RSS reader is a key tool for the knowledge worker including public relations people. I also find it great for my personal life, keeping up with enough celebrity gossip to hold down social conversation and keeping an eye on items of interest as they crop up on eBay.
Despite the fact that some high-profile digerati such as Steve Rubel have been down on RSS, I am still a great believer, in many ways Twitter can be considered to be an incomplete RSS reader with additional communications functionality.
So first things first, which RSS reader is right for you?
Different people have their own personal preferences. Some people like to have it as part of their email client window, others like to have a newspaper-like feel: Page Flakes and Netvibes do that very well.
My own personal preference is Bloglines. It is an online service rather than a software application running on your computer, but that means I can access it wherever I am and not have to clear out stuff I have read before. It even has a simple but effective mobile interface. (Bloglines also has a great blog search function).
Google Reader is similar to Bloglines and popular with many people, I wasn’t that impressed their mobile implementation. I guess what I am trying to say is ask around, try a few and work out what works for you.
Most of these services are really easy to set up, just follow the instructions and check your junk mail folder for the confirmation email if you sign up to a web service.
Here is a screen shot of what my account looks like. I have my feeds grouped into folders. This makes it really easy for me to check the stuff that matters for work at work and the stuff that is nice but not really work during my own time.
I check them first thing in the morning, early afternoon at the start of the US news day and last thing before I go to bed at night.
I add new feeds via a bookmarklet that sits in the chrome of my browser.
Its really that simple.
Posts in this series
This was the post that started it all: 29 not-very-technical things that every PR person should know