Sunday, April 7, 2013
A-Z blogging challenge:
G is for Google (with a side of Grief) and Generosity
The springtime news that Google is shutting down the Reader in July was met by many with shock and horror (hence, the "side of grief" in the headline). Right now there are 140,000+ signatures on a "keep Google Reader running" petition, and bloggers and news agencies everywhere are asking: is this the end of RSS?
According to my sage sibling, RSS has been on the way out for years. YEARS, I tell you. Well, he may not have said it *that* emphatically... whatever works to get you the information in the way you want it, I always say. For husband and myself, Google Reader has been the preferred way to subscribe and follow various blogs, from business to tech to fantasy football (him) to quilts/crafts/cooking/writing/poetry (me). So the question is, should we just give those up, even as time constraints mean I skate the surface (or just mark it "read" and move on, unless you are in my "daily reading" folder) most days anyway? (Not *you,* my fellow dear bloggers, I mean those "other" feeds...)
I have a variety of ways I stay connected with sources of information, and in the interest of making sure you know how to stay connected with me and others, come July, I thought a quick review of options might be helpful. If you have a favorite, or another method I don't mention here, please let me know!
1. Email subscriptions. See the section over there to the right, where you can follow by email? That's a great way to stay in touch--in fact, I believe quite a few of you follow SweetTea&Sunshine that way. I usually try and post early in the morning, knowing that it will then be pushed out by around 11 a.m.-noon... a nice mid-day pick-me-up (she says, modestly)! I have grown my own number of email subscriptions over the years, and then go through periods of cleaning out and removing unread ones too... tastes and interests change, and what piqued my interest two or three years ago may not anymore...
2. RSS feed. Whether it's Google or another reader, Real Simple Syndication is a reliable way to follow blogs and sites. There are more of you following SweetTea&Sunshine using a feed reader than via email, so if it's Google, between now and July, alternatives will need to be found.
I am currently playing with Feedly, but not loving it completely. Lifehacker has been tracking the change, and posting recommended options--I will keep an eye out there for anything that transpires in the next couple of months that changes my views, but I have a feeling Feedly will be it. (Here's a recent pro-Feedly post from Lifehacker if you need help to make the move...)
3. Following via Blogger. Also in the righthand sidebar, this is an easy way to keep track of blogs you want to stay up to date with... that are in Blogger and use this widget. So, it only accomplishes part of the world wide interwebs equation.
4. Facebook. I set up a Facebook page for SweetTea&Sunshine years ago, but haven't utilized it, much. Maybe I will do that in the coming months; I know that I have really enjoyed reading various blogs that way, and feel less of a need to subscribe in a more traditional sense because of that. Right now if I want to push a blog post out via Facebook, I just do it as me, but I'm sensitive to the idea that not every friend of mine might want to know about my blogging... I have no idea why. I certainly appreciate it when my friends post their new blogs via Facebook. Just my thing to get over, I guess.
5. Twitter. This one is even less utilized (by me) than Facebook. The only times I really post to Twitter are when I am posting to LinkedIn or Instagram, and the option is included in what I'm already doing. I know, how's that for the laziest Twitter user, ever? I am appreciative of two Twitter feeds that I get via email: news.me and a daily news aggregate of people I follow from Twitter itself, too. I just don't have time to ride the Twitter stream...
OK, enough about Google, even as there may be some grief in letting go of Reader; I have a feeling we'll all get over it soon enough. Maybe eventually we'll even be able to see it as a good thing?
Completely switching gears, I can't help but add Generosity to G'day. People who are generous of spirit are some of my very favorite. Monetary or material generosity is fabulous too, don't get me wrong; philanthropy on every scale (widow's mite to Warren Buffett) is a topic quite dear to my heart.
But generosity of spirit? Rarer than cold hard cash, I find. In my humble view, more daily, small acts of generosity would go a long way toward healing the world of hurt.
A few that came to mind...
--Letting in the driver who is pissing you off and nudging in ahead of you, without pulling up and cutting them off. Really, are those 10 seconds of traffic annoyance going to make or break your (my) day, one way or the other?
--Paying a compliment to someone you know isn't your biggest fan.
--Making sure your colleague gets the proper credit when the boss gives you props on a project and it was more of a joint effort.
--Being the kind of person who is approachable and open, even in difficult conversations.
--Smiling at Mr./Ms. Grumpypants, wherever you encounter him/her... (If you need a refresher of my Ms. Grumpypants: see here, #7.)
Small acts, every day, help bring others into our world, draw people in; and through extending the generosity outward, it comes back--in spades. Isn't that really what we all want, to be understood (even for a minute), to connect, to not feel alone? Be generous enough to let others in and vice versa; sometimes it's not about giving to others, but letting them give to you.
These two famous artists recently were recorded letting someone else share the stage with them, rather generously. Now, it can of course be argued from a PR standpoint that this is what one does to "look good" and come across as a lovely human being, when in reality they could each be completely otherwise. Well, I choose to give them the benefit of the doubt. And Michael's reaction? That can't be scripted, can it?
Who can you extend a hand of generosity toward, today? What proverbial "youngster" can you share a stage with, and make their day? Be on the lookout; I'd wager there will be an opportunity or two, or three!
What's this A-Z business about? Check out my kick-off post. And stay tuned for the random joy and nonsense I concoct during the month of April!