Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Feeds For Dummies

Okay, I waited for Bethany to put up a Tuesday post but it looks like she's still in new mommy-land. (Bethany, take all the time you need and enjoy every moment of it.) However, we lucked out because Barbara Ray is guest blogging today!

Enjoy,
Eli

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Feeds For Dummies...

Do you try to keep up with the web logs of members of MWVRWA, other genre writers, agents, editors, and publishers? Do you fall behind because it takes so much time to visit each site, some of which have nothing new posted anyway?

I’ve recently discovered a way to save time and still keep up with all the blogs I’m interested in reading. It’s called “Feeds.” For the barely computer literate like me, here’s a step-by-step way to set up your blogs on feeds so you can go to them when and only when a new posting has been made there.

The next time you visit your favorite web logs, check each one for a feed button on the right side of the tool bar just above the main screen. If that web log has a feed, the button will be orange-with-white curved stripes (if the blog doesn’t have a feed, the button will be gray with lighter stripes).

To add the blog to your list of Feeds, press the feed button and wait a moment while a white screen with that blog’s entries in a simplified format comes up. At the top of that screen there will be a banner message about feeds with a button at the bottom saying, “Subscribe to this feed.” Press the button. A decision box will appear again asking if you want to subscribe. Press the Subscribe button.

Now read the entries down to the last one you read, and go on to the next web log. If you want to save the entries to read later, look on the right side of the main screen near the bottom for a line that reads “Mark as read” with a check mark in front of it. Click that line and the current entries will show up again the next time you visit this feed. That’s all there is to subscribing to each web log (at least for PCs with Windows XP).

Once you have blogs on your feed, you can check them for new entries by pressing the single yellow star on the far left of the tool bar. Right next to the button for Favorites will be a button labeled Feeds. Press that button and a list of your feeds will appear.

The feeds that have new entries since your last visit will be in bold print. When you click on them, you will get the white simplified screen you got when you first subscribed to the feed. You can read the entries there if the whole entry is included or if you are just skimming through the entries to find the ones you are interested in reading. If only a few lines of the entry are listed and you want to read the whole entry, you can click on the little green arrow next to the author’s name at the top of the entry or on Continue or More at the end of the entry. From this screen you can read comments and add your own comments to the blog entry.

Not all web logs have feeds, so some you will still need to visit individually from your list of Favorites. I don’t know how a web log writer puts their blog on feeds; maybe someone who has their blog on a feed can enlighten us on that in their comments to this posting. Right now the MWVRWA blog is not on a feed. Would you like it to be? I know I would. Who could do that? Elisabeth?

I know quite a few of our members use Apple computers. Can someone tell us how to subscribe to feeds on a Macintosh?

Is your writing blog on a feed? Did the number of visits to your blog go up when you put it on a feed? How do you use blogs in your research, networking, and marketing?

13 comments:

Piper Lee said...

Hey Barbara! I'm so excited to see you blogging as a guest blogger! Welcome!!

This is an interesting blog topic because I knew absobloominlutely nothing about 'feeds' until your post.

I use a Mac, (btw-- Don't call them MacIntosh; just Mac. *big grin*)

Anyway, I use a Mac and had to go looking for the way Mac users go about subscribing to RSS feeds.

In order to subscribe to feeds the site you're subscribing to has to have an RSS feed to read.

Here are directions for a Mac...

1. Open your Safari web browser, or if you're using Firefox it should work too.

2. Go to the desired website/blog page. Like our own comments page on this blog site.

Once the page loads, notice two things that show if you can subscribe to the content. The first is a big Orange icon on the top right hand corner that looks like a satellite icon. The other is a Blue RSS icon in the Address Bar.

If you click on either of these icons, Safari will switch into the RSS viewing mode, which makes it really easy to see the content.

3. To subscribe, you have to BOOKMARK the page while it's in the RSS View mode.

To do that, press COMMAND D. You can save RSS subscriptions to the Bookmarks Bar; it's an easy way to quickly see if there is new content.

When someone posts new content to the website you will see a number next to the bookmark. This number is determined by how much new content has been posted.

4. You can also customize how this works. If you go to the 'Safari' Menu and choose 'Preferences', and then the 'RSS' tab, you can also determine how long the articles are kept, how often you want it to update, and more.

Hope this helps the Mac users. ;)

Barbara said...

Hey Piper! I'm so glad to see my guest blog posted and your comment! I just learned about feeds myself a couple of weeks ago.

Thanks for checking out and sharing the procedures for Mac users to subscribe to RSS (or Atomic) feeds.

Since I've gotten my blogs onto a feed list I find I can easily keep up with the blogs of all our MWVRWA members and lots more besides. I just noticed that the comments page of this blog is on a feed, so I've added it to my list. After all, if there are new comments, there's probably a new posting.

I hope you're all enjoying this beautiful, sunny day and getting lots of writing done besides.

Alice Sharpe said...

Well, I'm looking at the comment page of this website and I don't see any little squares of any color and I use a Mac. So there.

Thanks for the suggestions, Barbara. And it's great to have a guest blogger. Always nice to have another voice.

So, Piper, are you talking about the page you write comments on or the page that is uploaded first where the blog exists? Does Safari work for this magic trick? Oh, I see that you used Safari. I'll go back and look at the frist page after I send this.

I can turn the computer on and I'm pretty good making little words show up on the screen. Everything after that is pure luck.

Piper Lee said...

No writing yet today, but my characters have been running through my mind all day today while I've been doing busy work. So, the plan for tonight is to get those little bugger's happenings written down before it slips out my ear canal and out into la-la land.

Oh, btw...

The main page on this blog does not currently support feeds, only the comments page has one, which doesn't necessarily mean there's a new post on the main page, just new comments on the comments page. I'd like to know if the administrator of this blog (she who will not be named, lol) can give it an RSS code for bloggers to tag? What say you EBOL??

Piper Lee said...

Alice-- You were posting while I was posting, lol, so I didn't see your question.

Does what I just posted make sense? There is no RSS feed code on the main page, only on our comments pages. It looks like a little Orange dot with parenthesis's. See it? Up there in the right hand corner by the lock looking icon at the end of the address line?

That's the feed tag. ;)

Good luck! I suck at computer stuff too, lucky for me I have a computer guru in the house. He knows practically everything about Mac and Windblows. It's great!

Danita Cahill said...

So glad to have you blog with us, Barbara.

I'd heard people talk about blog feeds -- to me the conversation went something like this, "Blah, blah, blah blog feeds blah blah blah." Needless to say, my irises glazed over about then because it was beyond my realm of understanding. So, thanks for the enlightenment.

I definitely think our chapter blog should be on a feed.

Elisabeth Naughton said...

Eli passes this whole conversation off to her upcoming VP who seems to know all about this stuff because all she is hearing is the same thing Danita is hearing...blah blah blah blog feeds blah blah blah...

(And Alice, I'm as lost as you are. I don't see any orange dot with parenthesis around it.)

Piper Lee said...

Here's a good page to read all about what an RSS feed is and how it works for PC users.

http://email.about.com/od/
rssreaderswin/tp/top_rss_windows.htm

Note: The above addy is all one line, but I had to hard return to get it to fit here.

So, if you go there, and if you carefully read Barbara's post, it won't all be just blah, blah, blah anymore. It will start to click and make sense. It's totally cool and I wish I'd have realized I could do this with feeds before today.

I went in and redid my Google home page and now when I open it up all my feeds are displayed plus all kinds of other options too. Like my gmail account now shows up to tell me if I have new email without me having to go open up an email program. It's awesome!

Thanks Barbara for sharing your genius.

Piper Lee said...

Danita-- I went in on the other comments from Lisa's post and gave you the correct spelling for bejesus and its definition. LOL

Piper Lee said...

Eli-- You are soooooo lucky to have Lisa as your VP! LOL

Says she who's the treasurer and doesn't do math. (rolling eyes)

Lisa Pulliam said...

Yaaaaay Barbara! Great topic! I use Bloglines (www.bloglines.com) for blog feeds. I don't know much about RSS feeds, just enough to put together a bloglines. It's super easy to use. You can log into one place and see which blogs have new posts, super cool.

Piper, Eli is soooooo lucky to be surrounded by all of us, such wonderful women we are. And yeah, I guess we're pretty lucky to have Eli too ;)

Barbara said...

Thanks, Piper, Alice, Danita, Elisabeth, and Lisa. I'm glad you joined the conversation. I checked back here thinking there might not be anymore comments since the posting went up late in the day, but I should have known better, knowing all of you. I hope you Mac users will find your way to getting your blogs on feeds--it's great fun. Now if I can just stop subscribing to more new blogs every day to take up the time I saved by getting my blogs on feeds... Why, maybe I'd even get back to writing!

Genene said...

Hey, Barbara!

It's great to have you as guest blogger!

I'm semi-computer literate, but only learn what I need to know. Since I haven't caught up with my e-mail yet, I'm not even worrying about blogs other than the chapter one.

So I'm with all those whose eyes glazed over and heard blah, blah, blah...

But I'll revisit this blog when I'm at the point of using feeds, so this will be wonderful info when I get myself super-organized and efficient. And please guest blog again, Barbara. You always have great information to share!