January 17, 2008

Reader Readers Read...

The last few days during my blogging adventures, I've frequently come across discussions about the Google Reader. There seems to be a common concern about the use and the users of this particular service, and I thought I'd take the opportunity today to express my own concern to the people who may or may not be reading my blog by way of Google Reader.

Google Reader is a great service. One I use myself, and which has made my blog-stalking all that much easier. But, I - like others - worry that many people are not using it in the correct way. So let's have a look at that today, shall we?

First of all. The Google Reader is there to keep all your favorite blogs at one easy access location, from where you can see whether or not a blog has been updated, and where you can read it... aha! That's were things are going terribly wrong.

You do NOT read the blog post from Google Reader itself!

You click on the post title link. This will bring the related article up in a new pop-up window. Or even better - you click on the blog name link (which is what I do). This will bring up the blog site in all it's glory in a new window... allowing you to see the post the way it was meant to be seen!

Why is it so important that you read the post from the correct web site and not within Google Reader?

1. Google Reader does not update any edits you made after posting. This means that you will be stuck with humongous spelling errors, wrong information, and messed up formatting - all things we may have missed as we hit "Publish Post", and have later corrected so that you get the best possible blogging experience.

2. Google Reader does not keep the formatting and page coloring that has been selected by the blogger, and as such you do not see the post the author intended for it to be seen.

3. You cannot comment on the post from Google Reader, and you all should know how much we love to read your comments. It is, after all, what makes a blog tic!

So, what I really want to tell you all is this:

Google Reader readers read my blog at my blog, and not in the Reader, dear reader!


Alli said...

Amen, REH-brotha'-man, AMEN.

Now if I could only get everyone that reads my blog to not read it from reader. I know most of my loyal readers & commenters do come straight to my blog, but I have discovered that there are a few out there that only read my blog from reader (and then never comment). ug.

Dana said...

Whew! I'm doing it right!

You had me worried there for a minute - I thought this old dog was going to have to learn new tricks!

Karen said...

I am doing it right too. There are few blogs I only read through the reader, but those are mega-blogs like PerezHilton.com and such. I hardly think those type of cites are dying for my hit and I never comment on those type of cites.

For all of us real bloggers, I use it the way R.E.H. outlined. :)

~Angela~ said...

I'm guilty. I read blogs in a reader. But if I want to comment, I still comment. It's not hard to click on the post.

The bigger issue with readers (the one that bothers me as a blogger) is that they prevent you from getting accurate statistics of who is reading your blog! As of today, there are 27 people subscribed to my blog's feed. About a month ago, I allowed my feed to show the "full post" (as opposed to just the first few sentences of my blog). In the month since I've done that, I've been averaging about 20 fewer hits per day than usual.

But I'm not changing it back. Why? Because I have friends that read my blog from work. And they are more likely to actually read it if it doesn't look completely conspicuous. And since the readers are more important than the hits, I guess it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

Jay said...

Yeah, reader has some limitations and there are some annoying things about it. I sometimes read posts in reader and sometimes I read them after clicking the blog title.

Some blogs have yellow or pink or light colored font that can't be seen on the white background in reader. And if I don't go ahead and click on the blog title and read there I'll forget that I read it and won't go back to comment.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Nope, sorry. I only click through when I want to comment -- for two reasons:

1. I read so many blogs that the extra moment it takes for each page to load outside the reader would actually substantially cut into my available blog reading time. This way I can also quickly skim posts for the ones worth reading more carefully.

2. I get migraines, which can be triggered by things like reading white type on a black background, flashing images or certain color combinations. I need the blog posts to appear the way I want them (not the blog author) to avoid getting headaches.

I know I miss some updates, but if the post is good enough for me to comment on (and written on a site without visual distractions/migraine triggers) I will see these changes when I click through to comment anyway.

R.E.H. said...

Alli: Know that I am always there, at your place and not eavesdropping from your neighbor Google Reader.

I'm hoping, by this post, to un-earth some Reader lurkers ;)

Dana: Nah, you're a good ol' pup already. No new tricks needed for you!

Karen: Yeah, I will admit that I do use the reader to filter posts that maybe don't draw my attention all that much - especially when I'm behind and there are like a hundred entries unread. There's just no way on earth I can take the time to read it all!

~Angela~: I've been considering doing it the other way around. Changing so that only the first few sentences would be visible in the Reader.

I haven't done so, because - like you said - the actual reading may be more important than getting hits, or even comments.

I would still prefer it if people came here, because there's more to a blog that just the current post.

Jay: You're right. That's one of the reasons people should always come to the actual blog.

I always click the blog title, so that I can scroll down to the previous post and check out any responses to comments I've left there before.

Mary P. Jones: 1. I have a very fast internet connection, so I didn't consider loading times - mine are always instant (unless sometimes Blogger itself is a little slow). I am, honestly, also guilty of quickly judging whether or not I need to read a certain post. But, I always read most of it "on location".

2. I don't really like flash and too many colors myself. I think that is one of the factors I consider when decided whether I want to read a blog at all... white text on black I have no problem with - but I can see where you're coming from on this one.

And, on the updates - will you really see them when you click through? You don't re-read it then, do you? You just comment.

Jen said...

I just signed up for Google Reader last week, by way of Alli's suggestion. I do not read the posts from GR though, I always clicked on their actual sites, b/c I like the look and feel of everyone's blog. I did not for GR.

I like it cos it keeps me from being the batshit crazy stalkerella and clicking everyone's post 1 million times a day. Now I KNOW when people post new.

I like it like that. Mmmph.

tt said...

Ok..this is sorta new to me. It's kinda fun being a virgin again!! :)I'll have to check all this out.

Jay Cam said...

nah i dont feel like. i'm just gonna stop coming here

lol jk!!

i don't use google reader. i just memorize everything i want to read!
skills i know!

Kell said...

I love Google Reader to keep up on new posts, but I always go to the blog instead of reading it at reader. Even if I don't comment I still do that because I know people like my brother are obsessed with how many hits he gets ;)

RockDog said...

Because I am the RockDog I am going to politely disagree...

Spelling??? Formatting??? Duuuuuuuude! Are you Yanni or REH??? Rock n Roll does not spell chekc or format!

YOu need BEER!

tt said...

btw- I noticed you gave us a wee little peek again.
Teaser! :)

fiwa said...

There are some other problems with Google Reader too - on some blogs it doesn't link right. Like Dooce - it doesn't show her posts - it shows the comments. There's another blog I read that just never shows updates in GR, I have to remember to go check her blog by clicking on her page and then I'll find 2 or 3 posts I've missed. ALSO, in the spirit of GR bashing, on some blogs it doesn't show you the whole post. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. DOn't get me wrong, I like GR for keeping track of all the blogs I go to, but it's got some problems still.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Will do, Madman. Thanks for the heads up on that vile product.

Anonymous said...

First Measure twice, cut once. Or is it spellcheck twice, publish once? I have actually caught posts that were later deleted from certain bloggers!

Second, I also hate the black blogs. They give me lines in the vision for some time after. Although I love that look!

Third, I always click to go directly to you! No need to thank me!

R.E.H. said...

Jen: See... I knew you was one of the good girls ;)

Hmmm... maybe you should go back to the old ways... I was wondering why I lost about a million hits a day a week ago ;)

TT: Makes you kinda curious doesn't it? It can be wonderful if you do it right - do it wrong and it can be a terrible experience ;)

Jay Cam: Surely it doesn't take much brain capacity to remember me, though, does it? ;)

Kell: I'm not quite as obsessed about hits as I am about comments! I love me some comments to get a feel of how readers react to my ramblings.

RockDog: Rock n Roll does not spell chekc or format!

Dude! Don't tell me you forgot all about Helix, man! How'd'ya think they'd a pulled off a song like "Rock You" if they didn't spell check! ;)

Now, gimme an "R"!

And W.A.S.P. too! "Love Machine" I'm sure there's more!

R.E.H. said...

TT: I love to tease you all with a glimpse of sexy ol' me ;)

Fiwa: I've noticed some of those problems too. Plus - recently, I've found private blogs do not update there - even when your are invited :(

There are times when I've worked really hard with spacing and pictures to show just the way I want them too (making it look clean and organized), and I find it looks all messed up in Reader (yes I subscribe to my own blog - so I can see how the Reader Lurkers see my blog).

Lightning Bug's Butt: It's not the product itself which is vile - it is how some people use it.

Think of it like a bottle of whisky. It's a wonderful product that can give you a lot of fun - but if you don't ever get away from the bottle, it can really mess you up!

Butterfly Girl: I've noticed the deleted posts every now and then too. Mostly they are just "unfinished", and you will later see the full version of it.

Thanks for always coming to me directly. It's more fun to be at the party than to watch the live feed on an internet web-cam... if you know what I mean ;)

Real Live Lesbian said...

I'm so antiquated. I still use the links.

Old dog here.

Leighann said...

I didn't like google reader when I first started using it, but now I don't know how I managed to read all my blogs without it!

~Angela~ said...

So it turns out that your first point is only quasi-correct.

My most recent blog post (from last night) had already been shown in my reader. Then, around 9am, I threw an ETA (edited to add) at the bottom of the post. About 2.75 hours later, GoogleReader reflects that change. So there's a delay, but it will eventually show your edits (if the subscriber hasn't already checked off that post).

g-man said...

I used Google reader for a while, but found that it was just easier for me to just cycle through my "book marks" list.

Anonymous said...

People complain about google reader so much that I haven't even tried it. I just cycle through from my own page - the links list!


R.E.H. said...

Real Live Lesbian: You don't have to be old to use the links.

Leighann: That part I agree with... sure hope you don't read the blogs directly out of Reader, though! ;)

~Angela~: That's two and a half hours worth of readers who get the wrong message ;)

G-Man: I wouldn't say that it's easier, but maybe just as easy. The thing I like about Google Reader is that I know where I need to go, because there's a new post there.

Emmeline: I did that too, but Reader is pretty neat - if used as I suggest here ;)

Anonymous said...

I'll stick to the old way then...

Sparkling Red said...

I don't use the reader because I'm afraid I'll get totally OCD and not be able to leave it alone if it has new updates.

I have restricted my own reads to the first few lines because I'm a stats junkie. Hit me Baby, one more time!

Newt said...

Gosh, both you and Tink taught me something today. Wow, not sure I can handle this much edumacation.

Jill said...

So this is how those people do it!! I'm gonna go to bed less stupid tonight!!
I'm in the old school way, go visit my favorite blog everyday!

Anonymous said...

I didn't even KNOW I had a google reader but I guess because I use igoogle as my home page it was all set up for me.
I had sites (tons of them) that apparently I picked to read???
But anyway I always read blogs at the author's site..
I prefer it as it feels like I am physically visiting, and can see the posts the way they are intended.
My first visit to your blog..very interesting!

Lakota Princess said...

I got nuthin for this one except I heart U. Keep up the good work babe.

R.E.H. said...

Preposterous Ponderings: Which ever way you so please ;)

Sparkling Red: Don't worry - I'll hit you up every time.

Newt: Didn't you know? Blogging is all about education these days... education!

Jill: Are you going to wake up smarter tomorrow as well? ;)

MerriMerri: Welcome! Sounds like you know how to best read a blog, so no tutoring required for you ;)

Do return.

Lakota Princess: I heart you too.

Guilty Secret said...

Ooh, REH, I love it when you get all bossy ;)

R.E.H. said...

Guilty Secret: Thanks. It's great to have you back.

Guess I'm a little bossy right now on account of being a little irritable overall.

ETK said...

Here here! you are so right! Thank you. :)

~Angela~ said...

That's true, but doesn't the fault mostly fall to us for not posting it correctly the first time?

R.E.H. said...

ETK: Thank You! It feels good to be right ;)

~Angela~: Well, I guess... but let's not be too picky about it now ;)

~Angela~ said...

Fair enough.

R.E.H. said...

~Angela~: We're good then ;)

Jill said...

I didn't felt smarter... Fucking phone!

R.E.H. said...

Jill: Uhm... Yeah. Phones have a way of dumbing us up ;)

Samantha_K said...

I am Google Reader-less.

I do my blog hopping the old fashioned way. I click on the ones with funny names from other people's blog rolls.

R.E.H. said...

Samantha K: So it was my funny name which brought you to me ;)

Oh, how fate twists and turns to make life interesting ;)

~Angela~ said...

So I went ahead and published my post right before I went to work this morning, and then added/changed a few things from work before the workday began. And it took 7 hours (SEVEN!) for Google Reader to adjust the feed. So I have this great quote that I added to the end of the post that most everyone from a Reader will have missed.

Anyway. Just wanted you to know how right you were.