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Google Buzz – Why Does it Matter?

February 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Google BuzzYou may have heard about Google Buzz by now.  The new Gmail add-in has created a stir in the media, with Google being accused of violating privacy among other issues – but the service itself is creating a stir as well among the “Social Media” types base solely on its merits.

In order to use Google Buzz you must have a Gmail email address. Our family has been using Gmail almost exclusively as our home email addresses for several years now. We are happy that Google has made email easy to use, easy to organize – and especially easy to archive and search. I can search my archived email for all kinds of items – attached photos and documents, etc. – my wife and I find this extremely valuable!

So, if you’ve just been sold on Gmail – or you already use it, getting back to Google Buzz – you may want to give it a try. If you haven’t been using the Social Media networks like Facebook and Twitter, Google Buzz is an easy to use service that will get you on to the Social Media train while it is still in the station!

I won’t go into how to use the service – it is easy enough to figure out – sign up for Gmail – and the Google Buzz icon will show up right below your email inbox. Start using it, and you will see why it matters. Follow your friends, and let them follow you – get social! It’s a great learning experience, and over time Google will improve this service based on your feedback.

Google Buzz matters because so many of you that have avoided social media will now have a quick entry ramp onto the new way that info is being exchanged on the Internet. Jump in with both feet – you won’t be sorry!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine


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5 Things to Like about Google Reader

January 16, 2010 1 comment
Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Google Reader may very well be the best news/information tool in today’s social media world!  Utilized by Social Media experts (see  1st chapter  in Chris Brogan’s fantastic book “Trust Agents“) – as well as socially “inept” dudes like me, Google Reader will rock your world once you begin to use it.

There are many, many things to like about Google Reader – but here are my favorite five:


The Google Reader Home Page

the home page

The Google Reader home page layout is quite similar to your email inbox.  It is easy to create folders (or categories) for the blogs that you subscribe to.

When you subscribe to a blog – if you’ve never done that – what you are really doing is signing up to receive the blogs RSS feed.  This is a way for blog publishers to get their posts out to interested subscribers – and you, the subscriber to “aggregate” those feeds in an aggregator or “reader”.  This is what Google Reader is all about.


Google Reader Bundles

bundles...

The quickest way to Google Reader nirvana for beginners is to subscribe to a “bundle” of blogs.  There are bundles that Google has put together in various categories and with one click you will be subscribed to all the blogs that are in that bundle.

Here’s how to do it:  On the left side of your GReader screen, you will see a menu.  If you see a little “+” plus sign next to “Your Stuff” – click on it to expand that menu item.  Then click on “Browse for Stuff”.  You will see a screen that looks like the image directly to the left of this paragraph.  You can select one of the few bundles suggested – or you can click the link to view all 449 (to date) bundles that are available.

This is a great way to get started with Google Reader – highly recommended when getting started, as you can fiddle around with all the GReader setting, tags, etc. – and not worry that you’re missing something dearly important to you.  If you mess something up (I’ve never done this….ha!) you can always re-subscribe to the bundle (this may give you double feeds, you’d unsubscribe to the feeds you don’t want).  I know, this is all starting to sound a little confusing – JUST DO IT!!!  You’ll see that this is all easy and exciting!!  What a great way to learn about subjects that are important to you!!  You don’t have to wait for the news any longer – you’ll always have up to date posts!!


Google Reader “send to”

send to choices...

The choices of what you, the blog reader, can do with each blog post is almost limitless.  I have started to email important items to myself for future reference or saving.  But there are other things you can do.

You can “star” a post, or “like” a post.  You can “share” a post – with or without a note attached.  Change tags, add tags.  Email a post (to yourself or your friends/relatives/business associates).

My current favorite is the “send to” function.  You can send a post to Facebook, Twitter and many other social networks that you might use.  THIS is one of the newest innovations to GReader, and it makes it such a better “social” tool.  I use this function all the time to tweet (remember to give credit to the original blog or poster) – more on that in a future post.


Google Reader Shared Items Page

Here’s where we get into another “social” area of Google Reader !!

On the Shared Items Page, all of the posts that you’ve tagged as “share”  at the bottom of the post – show up on a nicely formatted page with pictures – a little blurb about yourself (if you’ve filled out a Google profile), all in a nice package.  What’s really nice about this feature is that if you have your own website or blog, you can insert a little widget that will display your shared items with the world!!


Google Reader Trends

Click on the “Trends” menu item to find out the percentage of posted items you’ve actually read.  If you notice, the image here show that I have 120 blogs subscribed to, and that I’ve read 265 items, starred 27, shared 0 (not very social!) and emailed 9.  I am using Google Reader to keep up with new innovations in social media.  I currently use Twitter and Facebook to share items that I think will be of interest with my friends and followers – I really don’t use the “share” function of Google Reader right now.  I dto like it, however, and am considering including a widget to shared items right here in my new blog.  If you like this idea, leave me a comment below – love to hear from you!