Saturday, January 24, 2009

Blogs Everywhere! Keeping up with Them All...

Since I made my New Year's Resolution to become more active in the blogging community, I find it increasingly difficult to find the time to read through all the wonderful blogs that are out there! Blogger has a wonderful feature to assist and that is when offered, click on the "Follow Me" button and the person's blog feeds will show up in your dashboard when you log into Blogger.

I love this feature because it is easy to do and a very visible way to monitor who is reading your blog!

I also do one more thing, but it may seem redundant to some folks. I am a lover and use of iGoogle. I have used it in my other life, School Library Media Specialist. I like iGoogle because:

  • All of your blogs are visible on one page with the latest 3 or more posts visible. You set up the parameters. This is different from a reader because in a reader, you capture all of the blog posts until you read them and/or delete them or mark them as favorites.

  • I find that I am too busy to want to see everything that has ever been been published and that if I monitor my iGoogle page daily, I can quickly see at a glance what is "happening."

  • If I find a particularly interesting blog post in my iGoogle page, I can click on the blog heading and a new Internet window will launch. I can then browse that blog and go back in their history as long as I want!

  • You can personalize each iGoogle tab any way you want with numberous themes. For variety, each tab can have a different theme. You can name the tab anything you prefer.

  • You can easily delete RSS feeds, add RSS feeds, and move the RSS feeds around on your page so that your favorites will be at the top of the page.

  • There are numerous widgets that you can add for ease; i.e., clock, calendar, things to do list, translator, ping widget to update your status in other social networking sites, etc.
I have my iGoogle page set as my Homepage. The only faults that I see:
  • It does tend to take a few minutes to load, especially if you have a lot of feeds on the page/tab.

  • Since this is not a Reader, the set number of posts keeps updating and the oldest ones "drop off" iGoogle. If you really want to capture EVERY post from EVERY blog, then this would not be the format for you.
Here is the "home" tab from my iGoogle page:

You can see my widget so that I can quickly update my "status" (I update to facebook and twitter) from this site. Why would I do that? I work in a busy high school media center (library) and I do not have time to do much "personal" social networking, so I find that if I keep my iGoogle page up at work, I have access to my calendar (which my husband uses and we sync it with our Outlook calendar at home), my "things to do list" my blog postings and my status updater. Also, facebook is blocked at my school, so at a minimum, I can still update my status even if I can't log in! If I come across a neat website or blog or article that I would like to share, I can quickly put it in my "status" and let my friends and colleagues know about it.

Here is my tab where I post my genalogy blogs:

You can see that enlarged the box in one of my feeders (top row, in the middle) and these options give you the ability to quickly share the feed with someone, delete it, or change it so that you can see more blog posts than the default of 3. You can also select the "You might also like" option and Google will try to find you more feeds like the one on your page.

You also have the capability to share the entire tab with someone. This is great if you want someone else to read the same blogs as you; maybe a friend, colleague or genealogy group, etc.

Well, I hope that I have given someone a peek at my attempt at how I organize all of the wonderful information on the World Wide Web and maybe you can use some of the ideas that I have shared with you!


  1. Thanks for pushing the Follow Me feature - there are lots of new geneabloggers that could use some followers on their sites!

  2. The following feature on your blogger home page is handy to use to follow feeds. I also started following blogs on my iGoogle page. I had to switch to a reader when the number of blogs I was following simply was too much for that format. Your iGoogle page is also a great place to keep track of your bookmarks - you can then access them from any computer.

  3. I love this post! I'm a huge iGoogle fan and user, but have been using the Reader. What specifically is the gadget that I'd use to put these feeds on their own tab? My email is I agree with Apple--I also put my bookmarks on my iGoogle page so I can get to them at other computers that don't have the google toolbar. Love it.

  4. One more question: What is the gadget to update my FB and Twitter status--for my igoogle page? That would be handy at my job too.

  5. Thanks for you comments! Yes, Apple is correct, you can put your bookmarks on the iGoogle page. I have a entire tab with all of my Google toy shortcuts! I can read my email, see my reader, look at Google Docs, etc. all within the iGoogle format. If one tab gets too many widgets, just make another one! I have two genealogy tabs!

    The ping service that I am talking about is and it is a handy way to update several (or just one!) social networking websites just one time. You need to create a free account and then one of the tools that you will find is a iGoogle widget. I will post a blog entry about this next. I have to warn you, some social networking "purists" don't like it when people post the same message to a multitude of sites because they feel you didn't personalize the message, but hey!, time is in short supply and sometimes that is all I get to! Some of my twitter friends are not on facebook and vice versa, so it is not redundant for them. I do try to post a different status on each service according to what I use each service for, but sometimes, time does not allow for this! Also, I couldn't get into facebook at work if I tried because it is blocked, so this is my only alternative! More later!

  6. Becky, you asked how to add the RSS feed to iGoogle? It is really pretty simple, if the blog host has added a widget called "Subscribe to this blog" with a list of popular readers. Click on the Google icon and then you will get to a page that asks if you want it on your Google homepage or Add to Google Reader. If you click on Google Homepage, it will automatically go onto your iGoogle page. Caveat: the last tab you opened on iGoogle will be the tab that the reader box will be applied. I usually open iGoogle first and navigate to the tab I want the box to be applied. You can always drag content from one tab to another it gets to the wrong tab or if you change your mind, but I find it easiest to just put it in the right place first. If there is no button, you will have to find a "Subscribe to RSS feeds" button and grab the resulting URL and copy it. Go to iGoogle and click on the tab where you want the feed to appear. At the end of your tab bar, you should see an option called "Add feed or gadget." On the next page, you will see the orange RSS icon and the words, "Add feed or gadget," and when you click on it, you will get a box for you to paste the URL of the RSS feed that you want. If successful, you will see a checkmark and then when you click on "Go back to homepage," you will see the feeds on your page!