Research; Keeping up-to-date with latest news; Finding blog topics; etc. are activities many online users regularly undertake, frequently daily. Authors are no exception.
Sources for such information are naturally varied and, in these days of virtually unlimited availability, vast. Users may soon find themselves overwhelmed and distracted. There is a lot of very interesting and helpful information out there.
Most users, after gaining some familiarity with sources of information: Websites; Blogs; News channels and publications; Technical sites and publications; Author sites; Reader sites; etc. will have listed them: in their head; in writing; in their bookmarks; or in a manner that suits their needs.
Accessing these sources may be achieved by either hoping from site to site; having them open together (makes for a crowded, potentially confusing, screen); or entering individual urls each time they wish to access the site/information. All require a time commitment potentially preventing a user from attending to activities that should have priority.
Although research and confirming accuracy of information should never be skimped it would help most people if there was a means for reducing the time required to carry out these activities. Some sort of collation tool would be helpful.
Feedly is a such a tool, designed specifically to assist users with the gathering of information:
- Compiles news feeds from various online sources.
- Connects users with information they find interesting.
- Puts users favourite content in one place.
- Allows users to organise, read and share content from their favourite sources.
The signup process is straight forward with three available plans: Basic (free); Pro; and Teams. As is usual in this website, taking into account most readers and followers have little in the way of resources, discussion will primarily be restrained to the ‘Basic’ plan. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning, for those who may have need of it and have a small income, the more versatile ‘Pro’ plan at $5.41 per month (as at the time of writing) is affordable. Note: Payment is billed annually.
Once signed up, the Basic plan user may establish:
- Three (3) ‘Feeds’ (Categories).
- Up to one hundred (100) sources of information (e.g. sites, publications, etc.).
- Unlimited ‘Boards’. (These are where users may file articles and posts they wish to refer to more than once.)
Each time the user signs in, the most recent posts are displayed first. This enables them to see what is trending in their selected sites etc. The source’s (site/publication) settings determine whether the full post or article or just an extract is displayed. No matter which, the user is able to click to the site or publication webpage where they may read the complete article. They may then share, if they consider it appropriate and relevant, the post or article either by using any available share buttons or by copying the url and posting it within a post or article of their own. (As most of these urls tend to be rather long and ungainly, it is suggested a short links facility is utilised first.)
Beside restricting how many Feeds and Sources a ‘Basic’ plan user may have there is one other notable constraint: Support.
Though there is a ‘support’ button, in the lefthand column, near the bottom, it simply takes the user to a general information screen. There is no ‘contact us’ facility or guide material. This is when using the ‘Basic’ plan. The fee attracting plans ‘Pro’ and ‘Teams’ have a ‘Premium Support’ facility that, presumably, enables users to make actual contact. Nevertheless, the facility is reasonably easy to learn and use and hopefully Basic plan users will not have a need to seek more robust support. Of course, by paying the appropriate fee, they may always upgrade if they consider it really worthwhile.
In this website it is unusual for only one service or facility to be mentioned in isolation. Of course, as a search against ‘Feedly Alternative’ will reveal, there are other similar services available. However, so far, Feedly is the only one the writer has had experience with and therefore is not able to comment on any other. Nevertheless, the writer’s experience of Feedly has generally been a good one.
In these days when so many appear to be overburdened and complain about lack of time availability, utilising a collation tool makes sense because it does enable them to access multiple sources of information from one location. It also helps keep screens uncluttered thereby reducing distraction.
Disclaimer: Beside using the facility neither T. R. Robinson Publications nor T. R. Robinson have any affiliation to or with Feedly. Nor do either receive any rumination for referring to them.