19 April 2009

Why Don't You Use Google Reader?

You have a Google account already, because it's 2009 and only the most absurdly stubborn and closed minded people haven't gotten on the bandwagon yet. You use a lot of Google products already, maybe iGoogle, Google docs, or Google Calendar (my personal favorite). But you haven't started using Google Reader. I'm trying to find out why.

Your first question is going to be "How do you know I don't use Reader?" and my answer is, because if you are reading this blog, you are probably one of my Gmail contacts, and there are only 5 that use reader, so you can't tell me you do.

Do you check any online resource frequently for news? If your answer is no, then you should start keeping up with the world now, because you're old enough. If you're answer is yes, you are doing it the old fashioned way. I used to be limited to checking one or two news sources a day, because that was all the free time I had to skim through headlines. But now I get through, on average, 300 headlines a day from dozens of online and published news sources from around the globe.

I could go on about all the cool features of Google Reader, but its a Google product so thats a given, and they promote their own products enough. The reason I'm annoyed with you, is because one of the best ways to learn about news is to hear it from friends. Can you imagine if 15 of your closest intelligent friends all sent you one great article everyday. All of a sudden, you aren't browsing papers anymore, your morning news is straight from your friends, people you can really trust.

Just give it a shot, its really easy to get started, and every site you go to already has an RSS feed. If you need help let me know. I already have dozens of great articles shared through Reader, and I can't wait to see yours!

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03 February 2009

End of the world quickly approaching, Watch it live here!

Why is it that every news organization in the US seems to thrive on terrible news? As someone who follows a ton of RSS feeds from many legitimate publications, I don't understand the affinity for bad news.

In a time when news organizations are having to re-think their business models, and try to cope with dwindling subscriptions and ad revenue affecting almost every publication in the nation, I wonder why no one has thought that maybe people just don't want to read about how terrible the world and the economy are every day. Some recent headlines "Residents panic as small quake hits New Jersey", "Salmonella recall continues to spread", "Another Weak Month Seen for Car Makers". Oh, and lets not forget the most morale killing headlines of all in this economic environment, "[Company] cuts [Large number] jobs, [ridiculous statistic]", "1 billion jobs to be cut this year, good luck keeping yours". I mean honestly, is it their hope to make you feel like crap on your morning commute?

And then there are the local news stations. They come on with the 15 second "We're going to tell you something that will scare the shit out of you and hope it makes you watch our broadcast tonight" spot during your favorite prime time program. And then they wonder why ratings dipping, and anchors are losing jobs. They have made a career out of convincing you that something awful is going to happen, and the only way to avoid it is to tune in to the nightly news and let them read the answer to you from the teleprompter.

In these times, I think would benefit us all of news organizations would stray away from the age-old doomsday headlines that they have relied on for the past century, and start focusing on reporting about the happenings of our entire world and society. Not just the new hot topic. The notion of news as entertainment has long annoyed me. And perhaps, it is beginning to annoy everyone, which is why the ability to pick and choose what stories you read, anytime, has lead to a rise in the number of people who prefer online news sources.

Its not enough to just think positive. In a country where a cult book like The Secret became so popular, you would think somone else would rant about this earlier. We need to start focusing our society on what we are doing to work through our problems, and also what things are happening other than extinction level event scenarios.

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