Blog Subscriptions

by JL Beeken on 12-15-2012

RSS I decided I’d try to do a Randy Seaver and increase my blog subscriptions to a couple thousand and follow them every day, too.

First I had to find his secret. Either he has way more time than the rest of us, or he’s got a secret.

I don’t know if I cracked the mystery but this is what I did realize. New subscriptions bring everyone’s most recent 10-25 posts. So the first rule is: DON’T try to catch up. Mark everyone as Read, and start from zero. Not everyone posts every day so it’s pretty easy to catch up with the relatively-few that do. Theoretically.

Actually, I find that some people do post quite a bit. I don’t know how to count my subscriptions so just a guess; only about 200 so far. I’m going through the entire list at GeneaBloggers so that’s increasing daily.

And so far, no, I’m not keeping up. Randy must have a different secret.

Subscribe by Email

I tried moving my blog subscriptions to my email because I thought that would be more in my face and help me along. Except that my general track record with email isn’t all that great.

Putting that aside for the moment, it’s pretty easy to do. Set up a new Thunderbird account for feeds. Instructions at How to Subscribe to News Feeds and Blogs.

Go to Google Reader settings, export your blog subscriptions using Google Take Out and then import the XML file to Thunderbird. Click-click. Done.

Blog Subscription, Thunderbird

And there it is; blogs by email.

As far as subscribing to any new feeds, this could be a challenge.

Most genealogists have their blogs hosted on Blogger and most of them do not have a Subscribe by Email option. Probably because to get that you have to sign up for it at Feedburner. Just go to the Publicize tab and choose Email Subscriptions.

Email Subscriptions, Feedburner

Otherwise, what I need for Thunderbird is the feed address. That’s not the same as the blog address. If I go to a random Blogger blog I see this type of thing quite commonly.

Blog Subscription, Blogger

This is giving me the option to subscribe in a reader but it’s not giving me the blog address.

To get the address I have to click the Down arrow next to Posts, then choose Google Reader. That opens a Google window giving me a choice between Google Homepage and Google Reader, neither of which I want at this point. However, in the upper left corner it gives me the name of the blog with the blog address underneath.

I take that address and paste it into Thunderbird and your blog shows up there.

It’s do-able, just a little roundabout. Well, a lot roundabout. So I decided Google Reader is just fine the way it is. For now.

Summary vs. Full Text

I’ll just mention one issue I’ve come across so far.

If you only include a Summary of your posts in your RSS feed, you’re forcing me to go to your website to read the rest of them and I’m probably not going to do it because it’s too far to go. Especially all the way from email.

I’ll go that far to leave a comment when I can’t hold my tongue because that’s the only way it works but I’m not going to click on your title in Google Reader and wait an extra 4 seconds for your latest blog post to open in a new tab unless I really really love you to the point where I’d crawl on broken glass if I had to.

Look at it this way. The reason someone would subscribe to your blog in a reader is because they want to read your blog in a reader. They don’t want to go to your website. If they did, they’d bookmark it instead.

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