I am an information whore. That's an odd way to put it I suppose, but it makes the point that I am a voracious reader who can't get enough of learning new things. Lately, I began exploring Google Reader, a tool that I've had at my disposal for months but have never really used.
I invested a few hours over the course of this week to figure it out, and once I did, I wondered why I didn't do it sooner! Here's how I use Google Reader to help me be efficient and have fun in my business.
Google Reader Helps Me Be Efficient. Instead of having to visit the blogs I love one by one, I receive their RSS feeds in Google Reader. It only takes me a few minutes to scan the feeds for an overview, and then I can settle in and actually read the ones that appeal to me most. By clicking on the title of the article, I can actually go to the site and leave a comment there if I want to.At the moment, the entire process only takes about 10 to 15 minutes. I have a feeling that may change as I add more feeds to my account.
As a small business owner, my time is limited. I have to choose to invest it in the things that deliver the most value to my customers and the best return on my investment.Google Reader allows me to store and enjoy content I love from across the Web without having to visit individual Web sites.
Google Reader Lets Me Share Information I Find Useful. Not only can I quickly scan information of my own choosing, I can also quickly share my thoughts and comments on that content with other people.
For example, this morning, I shared my thoughts on a post by Indie Beauty member Regina Mower who is attending the Alabama Soap Meeting this week.Notice that I shared my thoughts in a way that encourages readers to visit Regina's blog to enjoy the photos. I find that this is a great way to start fun conversations and to drive traffic to my Indie Beauty member websites.
Google Reader Makes It Easy For Me To Find New Content. As a Google Reader account holder, I can easily and quickly browse hundreds of categories to find content I want to add to my Google Reader feed.
For example, this morning, I was searching for good information on leadership and I discovered the Center For Creative Leadership's blog. They don't post very often so I checked out their blogroll to see what they read. That led me to Dan McCarthy's Great Leadership blog. I subscribed to Dan McCarthy's blog in Google Reader. I'll give it a day or two to catch my interest. If it doesn't, I'll unsubscribe and search for more.
Google Reader Makes It Easy to “Star” and Email Content To Friends. If I like a post a lot, I can “star” it so that it stand out to others who visit me in Google Reader. I also like that I can quickly email something I like to my friends with a short email comment.
For example, this morning, I read a short post by Seth Godin called “Ruby Slippers.” It asks you what “one big thing” you want to accomplish in your business. The post caused me to take stock of how I invest my time. I want to make sure I use it wisely to accomplish specific goals. I thought the question (and my answers to it) was so helpful that I starred it and then emailed it to my MasterMind group so they could ask the same question. We'll probably mention it at our next meeting.
If I'd had to actually visit Seth's blog to enjoy that post, it may not have happened simply because there are only so many hours in a day.
Google Reader Allows Me To Set Up Google Reader Friends. Not only can I send information to people using their email addresses (as above), but I can also “friend” people in Google Reader and we can communicate about the great stuff we find within Google Reader. I just invited a few friends to join me this morning and I'm looking forward to seeing if others would like to explore this option with me. It seems to me that this is a great way to connect with people around topics of shared interest what we discover on Google Reader.
There's More To Google Reader
I feel certain that my experiences so far only scratch the surface of what I can do using my Google Reader page. For example, there's a mobile application that I plan to get as soon as I invest in my iPhone (which should be next week!). There's also a nifty trending tool to help me track what I read and how I use Google Reader.
I look forward to using that to manage my time efficiently. I have a feeling that the real power of Google Reader lies in its ability to connect with efficiently with other like-minded people in the world. I will keep you posted on how that goes.
How to Set Up Your Own Google Reader Account
Meanwhile, you can set up your own Google Reader account at this link. Once you do that, you can follow the instructions to set up your Google Reader page.
I hope you'll also subscribe to my blog's RSS feed. To do that, just cut and paste my feed URL: http://www.indiebusinessnetwork.com/feed, into the area that says “Add a Subscription” in the upper left corner of your administration area.
Question: Do you use Google Reader? If so, what are you tips for making it useful. If not, have I convinced you it's worth a look?