This is Part 2 of my 3 Part Google Reader story – Read Part 1 – Information Addiction
I had everything I wanted at my fingertips:
- Web news – check.
- Jaw-dropping design posts – uh huh.
- Funny comics – check.
- Sci-fi news – Got it.
- Thought-leading blogs – Yep.
- Tech stores – Here they are.
So why wasn’t I satisfied? I’m an info addict with the perfect fix and a river of information. Yet I still felt like I was missing out. I felt like there was great content that wasn’t making it to my feed. Google Reader had given me everything I knew I wanted.
The problem was it didn’t give me the content I didn’t know I wanted. I had lost the element of discovery.
Gradually I started to pay attention to a feature called “sharing”. I started by following the shared posts of a few close friends. Within a few weeks my behavior on Reader changed. Using Reader to learn about new things became just as important to me as finding and sharing stories that my friends would love.
That’s when I fell in love with Google Reader. It was my discovery engine. More importantly, it was my social news network. For my group of friends, it had become our own personal Digg. We shared common interests and used Reader to share stories we knew our group would like.
It wasn’t long till I was convincing everyone I knew to join Reader and in the process became an avid supporter of RSS. I got my friends, my co-workers and even my wife to sign up for Reader.
Every pitch started the same way: “Do you use Google? Yeah? Have you used Reader? NO?! Alright – Sign up for this, add the RSS feeds of your favorite websites and then we can easily share stories that we love.”
For those that weren’t convinced, I would send them to my shared items feed so could see how easy it was to curate their own favorite content.
Thanks to that social feature; soon I was getting new content from websites and sources that I had never even thought of before because now the people who know me best were there: my friends. The list of people I followed grew and so did the number of subscriptions to sites.
This love affair has gone on for years. Even as Facebook and Twitter have become social giants, we still used Reader.
My social web life was broken into distinct groups:
- Twitter – Breaking news, interesting content and shared experiences.
- Facebook – News and information about my friends’ and family’s lives.
- Reader – Where I got news and entertainment that was specifically relevant to me.