The opportunity to redefine the feed reader experience

200px-Google_Reader_logoI’ve used Google Reader almost everyday since 2008.

I’m bummed it’s going away. And, clearly, I’m not alone. Millions of people are using Google Reader — evidence that there is still demand for a great utility to consume content in one location. It may not make sense for Google, but clearly there is a real need.

When I found out Google Reader was closing shop, I immediately tried to evaluate the possible replacements:

  • Feedly
  • Zite
  • Digg
  • Newsblur
  • Frontpage
  • Intigi

I’ve been testing Feedly, and it is not a great alternative for me. The big issue is that there’s no easy way to scroll through posts per category. (Or maybe it’s user error and I just haven’t figured it out yet).

What you spend your time reading is a really powerful indicator of what you value in life. Look at someone’s bookshelf at their house or the first page of their Kindle, and you instantly get a sense of what’s important to them. Outside of Amazon, Google Reader knows more about my personal reading habits than anyone else on the planet.

Where am I going with this?

Turn my feed reader into a community. Turn my reader into discussions, conversations, and, ultimately, connections — something you may start to see happening now that Amazon has acquired book social network Goodreads.

Think back to the days of MyBlogLog, the social network for bloggers that was started in 2005. I remember going to real estate industry blogs, and seeing which members of the RE.net (the nickname for the early real estate blogging community) had visited the same blogs. That was an extremely engaging part of the reading experience for me. In some cases, it triggered emails to people I didn’t know after clicking through to profiles to learn more about those I didn’t know already. And I’d refresh my personal blog multiple times per day to see who from RE.net had visited recently. It became an addiction.

If someone is reading the same blog as I am, surely we have something in common. MyBlogLog was the best blog community tool that I’ve ever used. Community is about people, but also conversations. The killer social extension to the reader experience would be a feature that showed, in real time, which posts my closest friends were reading and commenting on so I could engage them in a discussion about something on their mind right now.

A hybrid of MyBlogLog, Google Reader, and Facebook. That is a game changing content consumption and connection tool. That is how you redefine the feed reader experience.

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Oh Hey World. Global nomad originating in Seattle. Ex-Zillow community builder. Social Entrepreneur. Microfinance advocate. Travel addict. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva. Find him on Twitter @drewmeyers.

  • Leonidas Muzkiz

    awww :P

  • Isaac Crawford

    Newsblur has a social aspect to it.

  • The_Tim

    I’m not interested in “redefining my experience.” I switched to http://theoldreader.com/ and once my feeds finished importing (there was a multi-day wait thanks to Google’s announcement) I’ve been completely satisfied with it as a replacement for Google Reader.

    • http://ohheyworld.com/ Drew Meyers

      I just logged in to try it…will test it once it imports my feeds.

  • 3dBloke

    I’ve switched to Newsblur. I’m not into any heavily social side of RSS feed sharing, but I used to like sharing old-style (pre-Google Plus) in the old Google Reader, and Newsblur fits this nicely.

  • http://profiles.google.com/bangerlm Laura Bangerter

    On Feedly you just click the group on the left-hand-side (from browser) or for mobile click the icon in the top left corner to get the category menu, and it shows you all the posts in that category.

    I switched to Feedly after Google destroyed the UI on Google Reader. Ironically it was no longer readable for me. It took me a little bit to figure out the settings I liked best on Feedly, but now I’m happy. I hope they get a seamless disconnect from Google Reader before it dies.

  • Eric Dannewitz

    NewsBlur. Free iOS apps, social, and works like Google Reader. Pretty happy with it so far.

  • http://www.biggerpockets.com Joshua Dorkin

    Drew –
    I agree that MyBlogLog was absolutely the best tool we’ve seen and was deeply saddened when Yahoo let it fail. Now, as Google Reader is set to disappear, we’ve got one less awesome tool in our toolboxes . . . it is indeed troubling.

    Nice write up!

    • http://ohheyworld.com/ Drew Meyers

      Thanks Josh. I was a huge, huge Mybloglog fan…

  • Ali Rıza Dikici

    Well, you don’t have to wait days for the import.
    http://www.rssque.com is worth a try.