Friday, March 28, 2008

google reader process improvement

today my coworker came up to me and said, "aaron, you share too much stuff".

i replied, "well, a lot of it isn't for you. and by the way, i don't necessarily share for an audience. sometimes i have a specific person in mind that i want to share it with. sometimes my shares are defining who i am and what i like."

he replied, "okay, i understand that, but it is still too much for me. maybe the system is broken."

i said, "you are absolutely right, the system (google reader) is flawed. i work around it by quickly reading the titles and excerpts of things and ignoring a lot of stuff. but, it would be better if google reader allowed you to organize entries in some way. sorry, but i don't know how to do that in google reader. you'll just have to shift through the many entries that we are sharing."

so i thought for a while about that and figured there is got to be a better way. and i think i found a partial solution. here is my proposal to improve our process of google reading sharing. (note that i'm not inventing any thing new here, i'm just bringing to light some of the google reader features that we are not taking advantage of).

step 1
use the tagging mechanism to tag things into different groups. for example, maybe i have something like:
  • google - articles from and about google that i like.
  • environment - i'm interesting in environment and learning more about global warming. maybe this category also contains things like space exploration. i'm interested in that too.
  • programming - my programming and technology shares; from stuff about friendfeed to stuff about static vs dynamic typing.
  • other
  • all kinds of other stuff that doesn't fit into categories.

    so, in the following example i tag something as "p-google". i'll explain why i put the "p-" in front a little later.

    step 2
    once you tag an item, you can switch over to the tag settings. in the tag settings i security settings on the "p-google" from private to public.

    step 3
    by changing the tag "p-google" to public, google provides a separate public feed and public page. here is the page that will just contain the "p-google" stuff.

    step 4
    just keep in mind that the "p-google" feed is separate from the public one. you could share and label it. but that kind of defeats the purpose. anyway, i bring this up. because no one will know your special public tag feed exists unless you tell them.

    this might address my coworkers concerns about making it easier to shift through the content in google reader. its not the best solution, because it removes things from the public shared feed and moves it to a separate one. well, we shall see how it goes. we are trying to figure out how to make this all work effectively and efficiently for our group.

    what do you guys think? let me know if you have some better ideas.

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