Feedly Logo

You’ve likely heard the term RSS reader before (if you haven’t, they pull info from many different sources allowing you to check all your favorite websites in one stop).  It’s great for everyone out there who spends an hour (or significantly more, if we’re being honest) every day attempting to keep up with everything on the internet.

Now, most RSS readers will compile your favorite blogger’s newest rant + today’s daily recipe + the latest installment of that comic you can’t stop reading and display it all in one place.  But not all RSS readers are created equal.  If you are using an RSS reader you don’t love, or (heaven forbid) you’re not using one at all, you should check out Feedly.  And here’s why:

Organization

I lied a bit above – Feedly is not technically an RSS reader, rather it modifies the design of Google Reader.  This allows you to get all the benefits of Google Reader, but with the superior design and intuitive set up of Feedly.

Not only will all your daily online haunts be neatly organized into one place, but with Feedly you can also organize them via categories (e.g. “tech blogs” or “politics” or “funny pictures of cats”).  Then you can see what is new in each of your areas of interest by switching through the categories.  This is standard for most RSS readers, but Feedly also organizes the media it pulls in according to

  • how many people have “liked” it on Feedly
  • what you have read previously on Feedly

And if you grant it access to your social media accounts, it will also use

  • info from your Facebook/Twitter
  • info from your friends’ Facebook/Twitter

Feedly uses this info to put articles it thinks you will like most towards the top of your Feedly cover page.

It also keeps things organized by automatically marking articles as read after you’ve opened the story for 100ms (you can change how long Feedly will wait before marking an item as read to whatever time you prefer).

Layout

Feedly has a sleek Cover Page that you can edit to fit your tastes.  It can be formatted to look like a magazine with featured headlines, summaries, and pictures to go with each article:

Feedly Cover Page

Or you can opt to see the latest news in each of your categories via a grid view:

Feedly Grid View

You can choose to display the entire text of the articles or only their titles, it’s entirely up to you.

Feedly Mini Toolbar

Feedly Mini Toolbar ButtonOnce you have downloaded Feedly, a small Feedly icon (shown above) will forever-after be displayed in the lower right corner of your browser window, unless you disable it.  However, you should leave the unobtrusive little box because if you come across a new blog that you absolutely love, adding it to your feed could not be more convenient.  Just click on the little Feedly icon and the mini toolbar will pop up.  You can add the site to your feed by clicking the green “+follow” button and choosing which category it fits in.

The toolbar also allows you to easily share your newly discovered gem with friends through social media sites or, if you’re not ready to follow or endorse the site quite yet, you can just keep your new find to yourself by using the “save it for later” option.

Feedly Mini Toolbar

Community

Feedly has incorporated many popular built-in sharing tools (Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, Evernote, LinkedIn, Delicious, Tumblr, Pinboard) to make sure your internet browsing is not a solitary experience.  Sharing a blog entry or news article with friends is literally only a click away both in Feedly and with the Mini Toolbar.

Internally, Feedly allows you to recommend an article by clicking “Like” (similarly named but totally unrelated to its Facebook cousin).  Articles with the most likes on Feedly become featured stories listed at the top of your cover page.

At the bottom of an article, you can also see users that have recommended it.

Feedly Top Recommenders

You can then click on their profile and Feedly will show you which websites that person follows.  This will allow you to strategically expand your web horizons.  It also provides icon links to the social media accounts they’ve linked to their Feedly, so you can connect with them around your shared interests.

Feedly Profile

Explore

The Explore tab will take you to articles and other media from sites that you are not necessarily subscribed to, but that Feedly thinks you will like based on your current subscriptions and what you have read previously.

In each of your categories, there is also a “you might also like” section in the right sidebar that will suggest other websites you should check out.  Feedly’s features allow you to choose your own place on the spectrum from casually “feeding your mind” to engorging it.

Additional Modules

Built-in features like the “Finance Module” (which lets you track stocks at the bottom of your feed) further Feedly’s attempt to make themselves the only web site you have to go to in the morning to start your day informed.  Other features include:

Twitter: you can login to twitter from Feedly’s cover page to see a summary of your mentions and tweets at the bottom of your feed.  This allows you to track tweets from people you follow that match your interests.

Featured on Amazon: displays products for sale that are related to what you are reading on Feedly.

Galleries: shows relevant media (tweets, YouTube videos, Flickr pictures) that interact with what you have been reading.

Feedly Mobile

Feedly is also available on phones and tablets – running either Android or iOS.  So you can satisfy your need for the latest updates, even on the go.

Have you tried Feedly?  What do you think?

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Michelle Lindblom
Michelle Lindblom is a former Communications Associate at Wired Impact. Michelle has just finished her B.A. in Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology and English Literature at Washington University in St. Louis and she's looking forward to a career of combining the powers of language with an understanding of the mind.

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9 Responses to “Finding The Best RSS Reader: Why You Should Check Out Feedly”

  1. Jonathan Goldford
    1

    Great article Michelle. Even though I love Feedly and have used it for a while, I definitely learned some new things from this article. I updated the stocks from the “Finance Module” and I also started checking out the sources that others follow.

    Reply
  2. Hunter
    3

    Interesting article. I set up a google reader about a month ago and used it for about a day. I just didn’t love it so I’ve been looking for an alternative. I’m also a little digitally challenged. I like to read news at work on my computer, on my iPhone, and my home computer. So if I read something on one device does it update as read on the other devices? Also is there a feedly app? I really didn’t like using google reader on my phone. Thanks.

    Reply
  3. Michelle Lindblom
    4

    I’m glad you liked the article Hunter.

    There is a Feedly Mobile app for iPhone, Android, Palm Pre, and iPad. The app was just rolled out a few months ago and according to some reviewers the folks at Feedly have a couple things they should consider integrating into newer versions of the app to make it as user friendly as the web version.

    As far as syncing goes, if you read something on one device it will update as read on the other devices. A lot of your other updates will sync between your devices in the same way (like saving an article for later or marking it as unread).

    I hope that helps! Thanks for commenting.
    Good luck exploring Feedly!

    Reply
  4. Natalie
    5

    I suppose I’m in the “heaven forbid” category because I’m rather technologically inept, and have never used an RSS reader before. However, I found this to be a very informative article; Feedly has a lot of great organizational tools which would come in handy to help me keep track of the few websites that I do regularly check. I especially like that you can adjust the length of time that Feedly considers an article “already read.”

    Reply
  5. Michelle Lindblom
    6

    Thanks for commenting Natalie. That is one of my favorite features too, although it seems like there’s a great new feature around every corner. I hope Feedly continues to help you stay organized!

    Reply
  6. Lindsay
    7

    So I am a google reader user, but I have been told I should check out feedly. I like the look of things, but I have a question. I pretty much only check my google reader at work (tsk, tsk I know) and my work computer does not allow me to download software (our IT department controls that). Can I still get feedly for my computer or will I be blocked? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Michelle Lindblom
      8

      Hi Lindsay,
      As much sense as it would make for Feedly to be able to run in any browser without installing an extension or add-on, it doesn’t seem like it has that capability yet. The two solutions Feedly gives to this problem (http://bit.ly/k8aNkL) are:
      1) Install Firefox and Feedly on an USB drive. (However, if you cannot download software on your work computer, chances are this will not work either)
      2) Use Google Reader when you are on the go (Feedly and Google Reader sync in real-time so you will have no problem there).
      I think Feedly’s solutions are a little disappointing, I wish I could be of more help. We will just have to wait for Feedly to solve this problem. Thank you for commenting!

  7. Mujo
    9

    Sounds pacrtial and easy to download. I hope my cellphone allows this feature if not I’ll look for one who does it.

    Reply

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