If you are a Google Reader user, you have less than a week to take action. After that, everything you have saved in that service and all of your subscriptions disappear. On March 13th, Google announced a July 1 shutdown of Google Reader. Over the next several weeks, over 1 million people signed a petition asking for Google to save this tool. Alas, on July 1, Google Reader will be no more.

Why all the fuss? What is Google Reader anyway? In short, Google Reader has allowed its users to identify the blogs they like. It gathers all of the new content from each of those blogs and delivers it to one place. It’s much like designing your own electronic newspaper with stories from your sources you get to choose. Regardless of your field, people are producing great content on blogs aimed at your niche, and it’s all free for the taking. Letting Google Reader do the work of putting it all together has made staying current much easier.

Tools such as Feedly allow all the great content to go one place. That deal is too good not to take! The good news is that less than a week is plenty of time to take action. In fact, all you need is about 10 minutes. In March, I wrote an article in this newspaper about “Feedly.” Between then and now, Feedly remains the best and easiest alternative to Google Reader.

Go to Feedly.com and create an account. You will be prompted to allow Feedly access to Google Reader and bring in all of your subscriptions. Within a couple of minutes, you will be reading your blog subscriptions from Feedly. When July 1 arrives and Google Reader goes down, your subscriptions are safe in Feedly.

On your mobile devices, download the Feedly app. One of the features sure to become a favorite is Feedly’s appearance. You see beautiful images together with the title and snippet of each article. You skim articles by simply sliding through them with a thumb. Sliding upwards advances to the next article or page. Sliding downwards allows you to move backwards. Tapping on an article opens it.

Best of all, staying on top of your field becomes something you can do from anywhere. You can read one article or the entire feed during any given session. Therefore, it becomes a perfect option for filling spare minutes.

Below is a YouTube video which explains using Feedly.

Not a Google Reader user? 
For many, the reason they have not used Google Reader is that they did not know it existed or what it could do. The talk about its shutdown has sparked an interest for them, and may for you as well. Go ahead and take the plunge.

Go to http://Feedly.com and create an account, Click on the “add websites” button in the left-hand column. There, you will be given suggestions of sites to add. You can use the search window to enter the title or url of a blog you like. You could subscribe to my blog by entering the url “https://FrankBuck.org” in the search window.

If you would like some suggestions, here are some of my Feedly subscriptions:

If that list is more than you want, here are my top dozen favorites, in no particular order:

  • Eduleadership  Justin Baeder writes on principal productivity with a heavy emphasis on use of technology (Especially Apple).
  • Free Technology for Teachers Daily review of free sites, services, and apps for teachers.
  • Gmail Blog  Update on what’s new in Gmail.
  • Lifehacker Multiple daily posts on tips for making life easier.
  • Michael Hyatt Michael Hyatt blogs about leadership and offers weekly podcasts. Particularly good blog for aspiring writers and speakers.
  • Phone Scoop  The latest information on what’s new with smartphones.
  • Raymond L. Young  Great example of a school principal blog. The audience is parents and community.
  • Seth’s Blog  Thought leader in the business world, Posts are always short yet thoughtful.
  • Stepcase Lifehack Tips on technology and other topics designed to make life easier.
  • Techcrunch Latest news in technology.
  • The Daily Motivator  As the title suggests, a daily message designed to motivate.
  • The Official Google Blog Latest news from Google.

Go to your phone and tablet to download the Feedly app. Log in using your username and password. The subscriptions you added on your computer will be present on your mobile device as well.

Tools such as Feedly allow all the great content to go one place. That deal is too good not to take!

What are your favorite blogs? Others may want to add them to their subscriptions.