Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Dear Randy: How Do You "Collect" All of Those Links?

Reader John in email asked this question recently, and after a followup on my part asking exactly what he meant, he mentioned my weekly Best of the Genea-Blogs posts and the bi-weekly Genealogy News Bytes posts.

For the record, this process is called "Curation."

Here is how I do it:

1)  I use the Feedly news reader, which faithfully collects every article published online by websites that I specify.  I add the URL for a specific blog or news site into Feedly and the system finds the articles and presents them to me more or less in chronological order of posting.

By using Feedly (or another news reader), I avoid having to enter a URL into my browser for every site I want to read, or by having a list of Favorites or Bookmarks in my browser and then going through them one by one every day.

I separate my selected sites into different Feeds (like a folder) that I have named - my feeds include Genealogy, News, Politics, Lifestyle, and Uncategorized.  I started out with Uncategorized and still have hundreds of sites in the feed.  The "All" feed includes all of the sub-feeds, and is what I usually use.

In the "Genealogy" feed, I currently have about 280 sites, and in the "Uncategorized" feed, I have about 480 sites that are genealogy related.  So I can "read" about 760 genealogy sites whenever I want IF they have a new article that I have not previously read.

I have other reading interests that are in my Feedly reader - Technology, Sports, Politics, Religion, Science, etc. that are in my other Feeds.

Here is a screen shot of my "Uncategorized" feed taken about 10 minutes ago:

The "Feeds" are on the left side of the screen.  The content of the "Feed" is on the right side of the screen.  I always read in "Article View" but I could choose "Title Only View," "Magazine View," or "Cards View" from the dropdown menu (shown above) if that mode appealed to me.

If I find a new web site that I want to add to my Feed, I can select the "Create New Feed" on the left, and add the URL for the new site, and I used to be able to select one of my subject Feeds but now that doesn't work for some reason.  Perhaps it's because I'm still using the FREE Feedly version - there is a monthly fee Feedly version with more useful options.

2)  I can scroll down on the article on the right side of the screen to read the entire article.  I can advance to the next article by clicking the ">" icon on the right side of the screen, or by tapping the "J" key.  I can go back to the last article by clicking the "<" icon on the left side of the screen, or by tapping the "K" key.   This makes reading very efficient.  The Feed loads many articles at one time so that I don't have to wait for an article to load.

I can click on the title of the article to go to the actual web site to see the content, make a comment, or check out other features on the web site.

3)  I read the whole set of articles on the "All" Feed early each morning, and return to that several times each day, including late at night (usually about 9 p.m.).  Sometimes, if I'm away from home, I read Feedly on my iPhone or tablet - they access my Feedly account.  I am never far away from Feedly to keep me informed about what's happening in my information world.

Although I have about 760 genealogy related feeds, not every site has one or more articles every day, or even every week.  Many of my selected sites are dormant.  My guess, based on my experience, is that I see about 400 articles a day in Feedly, of which about 120 are genealogy related.  I

I don't read every article completely - if the subject and first paragraph don't interest me, I advance to the next article.  I estimate that I spend about two hours every day reading on Feedly.

4)  So to the question at hand - how do I collect links for the Best of and News Bytes posts?

*  For the Best of the Genea-Blogs post, I start the post on Sunday afternoon for the week ahead and schedule the post for the next Sunday noon.  I copy the semi-permanent part of the post from the last post into the new post.

I open the Best Of post in the morning and leave it open on my browser all day.  When I find a target post in Feedly that I want to add to the Best Of post, I click the target post title in Feedly, copy and paste the title of the target post on the web site into the Best Of post, copy and paste the URL of the target post to the line in the Best Of post, and add the author and web site name (with the web site URL).  That takes 10 to 30  seconds to do, depending on how much typing I have to do and how many errors I make.

The key thing for me is to "touch" each post in Feedly just once and make the judgment -- should I include it in the Best Of post or not?

*  For the Genealogy News Bytes post, I use the "Genealogy" and "Uncategorized" Feeds and go back over the previous three or four days for titles and URLs to add to the list for the categories of News Articles, New or Updated Collections, and Podcasts.  I check Family Tree Webinars for Webinars, YouTube for Videos, and my Google Alerts in email for DNA Stories.   Each of these posts takes 60 to 90 minutes to write depending on how many links I have to add to the list.

5)  As you can see, Feedly is the key for me to curate lists of blog posts for my readers and me, and provides the ability to stay fairly up-to-date, which is important.  

I often use these curated posts to find past articles of interest to me.

Thank you, John, for the question, and I'm sure not many readers have read to the end of this post!  The process is boring, isn't it?


Copyright (c) 2019, Randall J. Seaver

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Kat said...

Randy I just love Feedly. You were one of the first I added to my feed. I was very disappointed that my new kindle fire won't accept the feedly app because it is a different operating system. So now I read my blogs on my phone. I could use the browser on the kindle fire but the app is more convenient. Anything I want to save for future reference I clip to Evernote Keep up the good work!

mercury said...

Not boring at all Randy. I'm always looking for ways of getting more efficient in using social media - having all your feeds in one place makes a lot of sense. I have some of mine in feedly but also use Wordpress reader- trying to decide which works best for me


Lisa S. Gorrell said...

Wanted to let you know I read to the end and found your process fascinating. I appreciate your curation. Some weeks, you have the same articles that I found interesting to read, too. I use Feedly, too, but tend to forget about them. I also get many blog posts in my email, too, and they tend to get first priority.