A Guide to Following Blogs

flickr photo shared by Oblong under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC-SA ) license
One of the challenges with blogs is how to follow. Although you could simply ‘check in’ regularly, this is not only frustrating, but also a little tedious. Another way is to follow via links post through social media and other outlets. This is ok, but dependent on publishers sharing, which is not always the case. Here then are some other alternatives for how to follow a blog:

  • Email Subscription: The most obvious way to sign up for a blog is to subscribe by email. Platforms provide a means to add what is called a ‘subscription widget’. This is an add-on which allows visitors to enter their email address and subscribe to notifications via email.
  • Following: In addition to subscribing, most blogging platforms have the built-in ability to follow. This means blogs are posted to a central feed found on the dashboard and depends on having an account. Although you can easily follow multiple blogs this way, this method still has the problem of you having to check-in to find out and is not much different to simply checking the blog itself. It is also restricted to the platform in question.
  • RSS Reader: Another alternative following a blog (or multiple blogs) is using an RSS reader. RSS stands for ‘Rich Site Summary’ and is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Most websites have an RSS feed. You know if you have found a feed when the link ends with XML. Although many email applications have RSS readers built in, they can be a little clunky. An alternative is Feedly, an application which allows you sort all your feeds and information in one place, although there are many others out there.
  • If This Then That: IFTTT is an application which allows you to create recipes connected with different applications and websites. It allows you to easily automate a lot of processes. For example, by using the application on your mobile, you can set a recipe to automatically save your photographs to Dropbox or Google Drive. Using IFTTT, you can create a recipe where if there is a new post associated with a particular RSS then it will send you an email.

Like so many things online, there are no simple solutions, what is important is finding the method that works best for you.

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Aaron Davis

I am an Australian educator supporting schools with the integration of technology and pedagogical innovation. I have an interest in how together we can work to make a better world.

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4 thoughts on “A Guide to Following Blogs

  1. Hi Aaron

    Thanks for sharing. We talk less about how to subscribe to blogs compared to when I first started blogging for a number of reasons. Social networks and the mobile web have played important roles in these changes.

    My thoughts are email subscription is a ‘must have’ for an educators blog. Those who are less tech savvy prefer to be notified by email while more experienced are more likely to use RSS. Where possible I would add the email subscription link near the top of the sidebar as better to make it obvious for less tech savvy who are less likely to look for it.

    Personally I prefer using Feed readers than following because it is platform independent. RSS isn’t as popular as it once was however Feedly is the more popular choice now. Here is our information on how to use Feedly – http://help.edublogs.org/introduction-to-rss-and-subscribing-using-rss/

    Worth also considering apps like Flipboard. Most people now read content on mobile devices which has also lead to an increase in sourcing content from their social networks and a decrease in reliance on RSS. My instinct also feels there has been a shift towards more consumption of content via Facebook and away from some of the other social networks. I’m still pondering my thoughts on Facebook.

    There has also been some really interesting changes to how to read content on student blogs compared to how we did it when I first started blogging.


    1. Thanks Sue for the comment.
      I have taken on the position of eSmart co-ordinator this year and have started a school-based blog going back to some of the basics. When someone asks a question, I respond. I repost here to keep my own repository.
      I agree about Flipboard and Facebook. I have written about other mediums elsewhere (readwriterespond.com/?p=495).
      Like your advice about putting email subscriptions close to the top. Never thought about that.
      At this stage, I have not even broached student comments. I am wary of some getting the educational bends. Pushing the idea of the class blog first. From little things big things grow.

  2. Blogging Resources

    6 min read

    A collection of resources assocatied with blogging:Why Blog?<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=134">I Blog Therefore I Am</a>A collectuon of thoughts regards the benefits of blogging.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=537">Blogging Starts with Why</a>There is so much written about why to blog, this post starts with finding your reason.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=2433">Developing a Blog</a>Often blogs are spoken about as some sort of fixed entity. Sadly, this focuses on the what overlooks how and why we blog in the first place.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1710">Why Blogging Still Matters</a>With the rise of various social media spaces in education, such as Facebook and Google+, blogs matter more than ever for they offer control and privacy that other spaces do not provide.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=2364">The Many Faces of Blogging</a>Some break blogging down into tasks or unpacking the response. However, we often overlook the purpose and intent behind them.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=568">5 Ways to Change the World Yesterday</a>Why associated with blogging starts with me, but it is through sharing that ideas and thinking are given the possibility to grown and develop,<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1102">Blogging in the Classroom</a>A reflection on my experiences of blogging in the classroom.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=686">There is More Than One Way to Write a Blog</a> Often it is presumed that there is only one way to write a blog, this post unpacks some other possibilities, including as a means of collecting links and resources. <a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=78">Sharing the Load of Blogging In and Out of the Classroom</a>Exploring the different possibilities and potentials of collaborative blogging beyond the classroom. <a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=133">Sharing the Load of Blogging</a> A reflection on the idea of a collaborative school blog to share practice. Which Platform?<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=2325">A Guide to Blogging Platforms and their Niches</a>A summary of some of the different blogging services available, what they enable and where their biases lie. Included are an array of resources to support.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1286">Creating a Deliberate Social Media Space for Students in School</a>To support students in regards to digital citizenship, use WordPress to create a social space, therefore gaining more control over online presence<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1134">Starting with Edublogs from Scratch</a>I have discussed the benefits of blogging with Global2, as well as some of the intricacies, however, I have not unpacked how to get started.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=794">Introduction to Blogging with Global2</a>Some of the possibilities for blogging with Global2/Edublogs, as well as a list of resources to with getting going.How To Engage?<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=598">To Comment or Not To Comment? Is that the Question</a>There are many out there who say blogging is dead and that this is best epitomised in lack of dialogue and conversation. This post provides a different perspective by reframing the question.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1959">What Makes a Comment?</a>A question that does not get asked often enough is what it actually means to comment and what might it mean to bring the comment back?<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1763">Reading Texts is Easy, especially When You Listen to Them</a>Although not directly on blogging, it captures some different ways to listen to blogs, rather than read them.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1052">Ten Step Guide to Being Connected</a>An attempt at a guide to getting connected. Having a blog as a place for people to hear your story is an essential part of it.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=834">A Guide to Following Blogs</a>A post that explains some different ways to follow a blog, including subscribing, via an RSS Reader or an automated recipe using a platform like IFTTT.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=76">Are You Really Connected If You Are Not Giving Back</a>One of the challenges with a participatory environment is that without contributions there is no network. So it begs the question, are you really connected if you are not giving back?Reflection<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=68">Read, Write, Respond</a>A reflection on the decisions associated with beginning a blog.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=2337">A Blog for All Seasons</a>Different blogging platforms enable different possibilities. Here is an account of some examples that I have created over time.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=444">Uncanny Reflections on a Year Blogging</a>Memories forgotten can often haunt us when later uncovered. This post is about three posts that had this effect.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1322">Reflecting on the Voices in the Village</a>Rather than look back at the number of hits to measure the impact, here is a collection of comments from readers collected across the year. Creating Content<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1122">Creating Images for Blogs</a>A list of programs with their positives and negatives for making visual quotes to add to blogs and other social media platforms.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1069">Who’s Telling Your Story</a> An introduction to Storify, a platform that allows you to curate tge content a number of social media platforms and then embed it within a blog.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1255">Powering Up Your Blog by Adding Content</a>Incorporate different content, such as video, GIFs and audio, in order to improve engagement and communicate using a different voice.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1203">A Guide to Visualisations</a>There are so many different forms of visuals that you can add to a blog, from a mind map to a sketchnote, each adding to the mental image of the reader.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1266">Making My Own Maps with Google Apps</a>Another point of contact to embed in a blog.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=971">An Introduction to GIFs</a>A guide to creating and sharing GIFs. Reviews<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=2348">Claim Your Domain</a>A review of Audrey Watters book on why it is important to claim our presence online and some steps to going about it.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1885">School of Thought</a>A review of Dan Haesler 's book. Although not solely about blogging, he touches on it throughout.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=850">Master Teacher to Master Learner</a>A review of Will Richardson's book unpacking connected learning. Blogging is an important part of this. <a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=12">Things Are Not Always As They Seem</a>A collection of short reviews, including a comment on Clive Thompson's Smarter Than You Think and David Weinberger’s To Big to Know<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=1153">(Re)Claiming My Space on the Web</a>A reflection on my experience of blogging with Reclaim Hosting so far.<a href="http://readwriterespond.com/?p=416">Looking for a Local Perspective on Blogging</a>In response to AITSL’s dismal attempt to provide a list of bloggers for educators to read, this is my attempt to capture a local perspective. Other Resources<a href="https://www.diigo.com/user/aarondavis/blogging">Diigo Library</a> Blogs to <a href="https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1u8rMEt-jocpL3qZTqFa25AF9Ak67XfOApNFOS7KBC18/edit?usp=sharing">Follow</a> &amp; <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7zjf-LFJlqWS3pqanhlOVk2NEE/view?usp=sharing">OPML for Feedly</a>

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