Coping with Information Overload Using Google Reader

January 10, 2012

by Justine Parsons

Time is money and keeping up with news, feeds, articles, blogs and social media posts can be expensive.  I use Google Reader every day – whether looking for ideas for my next blog post, tracking a current event or researching a topic – this application aggregates content from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Alerts, news feeds, blogs … the web!

How to get started

This video from Google will take you through the simple steps in setting up your feeds:


The service presents stories in two ways: expanded and list view. Gmail users will find list view quite familiar, as it’s made up of headlines and the first few words of each story. Clicking on a title expands it so you can read the entire thing. If you really want to speed up the reading process at the expense of some initial load time, just click the Expanded View tab on the top right hand corner of the reader. This will expand all the stories to their full size, and make it easier to read entire stories, similar to browsing the host site.

If you want to read any story from its source, you can either click the headline while the story is open, or just hit V on your keyboard.


See a story you want to share with somebody? There are two simple ways to do it. The first is with the e-mail this button below each story. Clicking it will open up a compose message dialog using Gmail right underneath the story. You’ve got 1,000 characters (about two large paragraphs) to add your two cents. Whoever gets it will get a full version of what you’re seeing, along with links to the original story, and options to subscribe to the RSS feed on Google Reader.

The other way to share your stories without filling up people’s in-boxes is with the share button at the bottom of each story. This is basically the closest thing Google Reader has to a friends feature. Clicking it will automatically publish it to a publicly available blog. You can share the link to the blog with your friends, or give them the RSS feed so they can subscribe to it in Google Reader or any other RSS reader. If you decide later on you don’t want to share a story, you can uncheck the share button to unpublish it.


Five minutes early for a meeting, time to kill?  Google reader has an app on the iTunes site for catching up on your iPhone or Smart Phone or go direct to the browser site which is mobile friendly.

Social Media

Social Media Examiner posted a good article on building your free social media dashboard (which was my introduction to Google Reader) and well worth the time spent to set up.  I have used this platform to set up dashboards for all of my social media clients which enables me to efficiently find relevant content, alerts and news from one platform.

“Knowing where your company is mentioned online, who’s doing the mentioning and how others are responding is crucial to 1) understanding the “buzz” about you, 2) addressing complaints and negative mentions quickly, 3) knowing the impact (or lack thereof) of your marketing efforts, and 4) shaping social media marketing efforts to reach the right people (key influencers) on their preferred platform.”

Comment below to share your experience with Google Reader.  I would also like to hear about other aggregate sites, any tool that saves time is a good tool!


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