The days of having to go out to the blogs that you want to read have long been dead but for many RSS and subscribing to content are still foreign concepts.
For me it started with the incorporation of an RSS reader into Firefox. I could now populate my Firefox bookmarks bar with feeds from blogs and simply click on them to see the latest content. This was great but still left me wanting. I then moved into the use of an actual application called Vienna..that actually had to be installed on my computer. It worked fine as well but lacked [at the time] any tagging ability or more refined methods of organizing my feeds. I am sure it is better now but in the end the feeds were still only available on that machine. For about 2 years I basically forgot about feed subscription except when explaining it to others until I discovered Google and Google Reader. Within my own Google account I developed a fairly lengthy list of feeds that I tried to keep up with and use to inform my work with teachers. Google Reader did most of what I needed it to do. The only problem….it was separate from the environment I then started to use in my everyday work life…Google Apps for Education. While the core apps were there….docs, mail, calendar and sites I had to jump out and log into my Google Reader account. Well that has now all changed. Google has now made just about all of its tools available within the enterprise level and educational Google Apps suite. Once I log into my Google Apps account I now have access to the core suite plus Reader, Youtube, Picasa Web Albums, News, Alerts, iGoogle, Bookmarks, Talk and best of all Blogger.
The use of an aggregation tool like Reader is a must in my book. I need to be able to quickly survey the blogosphere [at least the part that I subscribe to] and pick out the things I want or need to read now. I just don’t see how it can be done any other way and still tap into the wealth of knowledge and information available. Organization and availability is key.
From a professional perspective I now have an iGoogle home page that provides me rapid access to all of those tools in a connected environment in addition to gadgets that can pull in other content and provide additional capability…a one stop production, sharing and viewing shop.
I still use a WordPress blog as well as Delicious [even though Google Bookmarks is available] but the bulk of my work is done within the Google Apps ecosystem and Blogger and Reader are now integral parts of that ecosystem.