How do you find the time? You use the tools . . . like RSS
Lawyers deal in information and the flow of it these days can drive you to much more than distraction. One thing I’ve heard over and over again when people talk about blogs and the new media is “how do you find the time . . . ?” How? I use the tools. I don’t go to each of them separately, such as through a bookmark in my Favorites (actually I use Firefox, so they’re bookmarks).
No, I monitor hundreds of blogs, sites and specialized searches that I’ve created through the “magic” of RSS or Really Simple Syndication feed, which really made much of the Internet’s new media possible. Subscribing to one of these feeds to a feed and read it in a feed reader, sometimes called a feed aggregator, allows you to monitor a myriad of sources for information that is relevant, indeed vital, to his or her practice. Not just blogs, but also newspapers, magazines, searches on Google, and a myriad of other possibilities. Anywhere you see the RSS symbols (one of them is found in this post), a chicklet like you see in the right panel, or a link with an exhortation to “get our feed,” you can make it so new content is delivered directly to your desktop (through the feed) on your browser or in downloadable reader, so you can skim it, look for what interests you, and then only read that. Wheat from chaff, folks.
If you learn one tool as you explore how to integrate online tools into your practice, I suggest that RSS is the one or near the top. Rather than reinvent the wheel here, I’m going to point you to some other sources. First, a quick video from a great outfit called Common Craft called RSS in Plain English:
There are also a couple of posts that I’ve found very useful on two of my favorite bloggers’ blogs, Problogger and Copyblogger. These posts set out RSS in simple terms and outline both how it works and why you’d want to use it. Finally, Lifehacker posted the 5 most popular feed readers, according to an informal survey conducted from about 400 of the site’s many readers (there is much more detail at the Lifehacker site, so I encourage you to follow the link, plus it’s a pretty cool site in general):
- Google Reader (my personal favorite)
- NetNewsWire (for you with Macintosh)
- Sage (an extension for Firefox that turns the browser into a feed reader lite)
- By the number of commenters to the Lifehacker post taking them to task for not including it, I’ll add Bloglines.