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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.

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