You are just 12 easy steps away from using Google Reader

This post falls quite squarely into the “Incredibly Useful” category and I am writing it in response to a number of people who have asked for easy ways to follow the Interiors Project. Here are three:

  1. Facebook and Twitter 
    Whenever I post a new issue (Wednesday mornings around 7:00 a.m. Tokyo time), I will always post a “ta dum!” announcement on Facebook and on Twitter. You can then click on the link and it will take you to the post.

2. Subscribe by Email
Some people follow my blog via email and you can sign up on the home page of my blog… on the top right-hand side of the page. This means that each time I post (about anything), it will be delivered to your inbox. “La voila” as DP likes to say.

3. Subscribe by RSS (Google Reader)
I prefer following blogs through something called RSS feed. For me, that’s Google Reader and that’s what this post is about.

I’ve been using Google Reader for several years and I believe it’s one of Google’s yummiest inventions because it gives me the ability to create a personalized (and ever-changing) online magazine of all the blogs and sites that I really love. Once I have subscribed to a blog, Google Reader does all the work for me. Each time I log on to GR, or refresh the page, all of my subscriptions are updated which means that the lovely new articles that have been recently published are delivered to GR and I don’t have to go to the websites themselves in order to read them. (How cool is that?)

If you would like to use Google Reader, I have provided detailed instructions and screen captures below. You might find it helpful to use tabs in your internet browser so that you can simply go back and forth between these instructions and the Google page on which you will sign up for Gmail and begin using Google Reader.

This should take about 15 minutes so make yourself a nice warm drink and let’s get started.

  1. The first thing you should know is that you will need to create a Gmail account if you don’t already have one. It’s okay if you already have an email account; you don’t need to use this one for anything other than logging on to Google Reader.

Start here. This is how the page will look. Click on “Create an account”.

  1. You will be asked to enter your first and last name, choose a login name and then click on the button that says “Check availability”. You’ll note that my first choice was not available so I went with one of the options they provided – my full name LalaMcSomething.

Then you will be asked to choose a password and re-enter it.

  1. Here is the second half of this form (seen below):
  • You will choose a security question and record your answer.
  • You’ll also need to tell Google what your back-up email account is; that is where they will send the confirmation email when you have registered this gmail account.
  • I entered Lala’s birth date in the wrong order but the good folks at Google caught my error and asked me (in red) to re-enter the information.
  • Finally Google will ask you to enter the letters from an image you see in a box. (They are just checking to make sure we are human).

  1. Next, you will need to agree to Google’s Terms of Service. You do this by clicking on the button that says “I agree. Create my account.” at the bottom of the page.

  1. Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a Gmail account and are halfway through the steps required to open your Google Reader.

Click on the blue button that says “Show me my account”.

  1. You have some choices about how you want your Reader to look. You can take a look around or click on the button that says “Continue to the new look” on the bottom left of the page.

  1. Hello Gmail home page. (I use Gmail at my school and for my personal email but you may have something that works well for you already.)

  1. In order to get to Google Reader, you’ll need to click on the button that says “More” on the black strip at the top of the page. Once you’ve done that, you’ll get this menu with all of the words in blue. Please click on Reader.

  1. Here’s your baby Google Reader. It doesn’t look like much yet because it doesn’t have any content… it’s a sad little magazine without any articles.

  1. This is where you add the good stuff!
  • Begin by clicking on the red “Subscribe” button on the top left hand corner of the page.
  • When you click it, a little box will appear with a message that says, “Enter a search term to find feeds or paste a url.”
  • You can type in the address of the blog if you know it or copy and paste it directly from the blog into this box.
  • After you have entered the address (including http:// at the beginning), click “Add”.

  1. You are now subscribed to a blog (mine… as it happens :). What that means is that as soon as the blogger posts a new article, it will appear automatically in your Google Reader.

12. A few notes about how I use Google Reader:

  • I group the blogs that I follow alphabetically within categories (Food, Travel, Writing) but you can organize your subscriptions (the blogs you follow) any way you’d like. You simply drag them around on the side bar on the left of the image below.
  • In order to keep myself organized, I always click the “Mark as read” button when I have read a new post.
  • I follow a lot of blogs… about 50 at any time. That’s way too many for many people. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable.
  • This should be fun… not work.
  • Here’s a quick note about a possible application for students in school. At our school, all of the teachers have blogs where they post assignments, reflections, homework and messages to students and parents. By using Google Reader (or some other similar online reader), students and parents can have all their teacher/counselor blogs delivered to them automatically.

I hope that was helpful and that I didn’t hurt your brain too much.

Happy reading! For those of you already using Google Reader, don’t be shy… please tell us about your favourite blogs in the comments below so that we can check them out! (Thanks!)


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