Monday, August 25, 2008

3 Ways to Read a Blog

A little while ago, I wrote 3 reasons to read a blog. So, I thought I should follow that up with a post on 3 ways to read a blog.

1. Visit the blog
The original way to read a blog is to just visit it regularly. Basically you visit the blog anytime you want to. You can go to the site every day and only get 2 or 3 new posts a week. If this happens, you waste a lot of time looking at the same material over and over again. Unless you want to look at the same posts over and over. Or you can go the other route and only visit a blog once a week (to avoid reading the same stuff over and over) and miss out on some time sensitive material.

In comparison to renting videos, this is going to the video store every day to see if the movie you want is there. You can check very often and still come up empty. You waste a lot of time and gas searching for a movie you may never get to rent.

2. Get updates via E-mail
This method of reading a blog is one step removed from just visiting. With this method you sign up to receive updates in your email inbox whenever there is a new post. The advantage to this method is that you don't have to go to another website to see if a blog has updated. You normally get your email at the end of the day or morning of the following day. This means you may not very time sensitive material. The disadvantage is that you can only get one blog update per email. So if you like reading 5 blogs (a rather small number to follow), you will get a separate email for each of the 5 blogs. This can start to clutter up your inbox.

In terms of renting a movie, it is like becoming a member of a video store. You are notified (aware) of new releases, but there can still be a wait period to watch the video.

This is a better method, as far as time saving, than just visiting a blog. Yet, it is not the best option available (in my opinion).

You can follow this blog's email feed by signing up on the right side of this page.

3. Subscribe to a RSS feed
The easiest way to read a blog is through a RSS feed. This is when you subscribe to the blog's feed and receive a notice when a blog is updated with new posts. So far, it sounds a lot like email updates, but it goes farther. Instead of getting an email with updates, you go to your reader and see all of the new posts for all of the blogs you are subscribed to. You will save a lot of time with this method of reading blogs.

In terms of renting a movie, it is like getting videos from Netflix. You only get the videos when they are available. When you use RSS, you only get notified when there is a new post.

A couple options for RSS readers: bloglines, newsgator, google reader, or search Google for other options.

You can follow this blog's feed here.

In the end it doesn't matter which method you use. Unless you want to save some time, that is. Once you find a method that works for you, go find some blogs to read. Search the net, ask some friends, look for topics of interest, follow links to other blogs.

Later this week, I'm going to share some youth ministry blogs I think are worth following. Maybe you will learn from them, like I have.

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