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In my experience, it is easier to "sell blogs" to someone by first explaining RSS and newsreaders. Moste people struggle to follow a number of sites. More and more ordinary newws sites publish an RSS feed so showing how an aggregator works can really help people, making them want to jump on the band wagon. Reading blogs then comes as a natural next step since blogs offer the most RSS feeds.

I prefer Bloglines. It's web based and so I can read my feeds anywhere I have Internet access. I agree that explaining how RSS works makes blogging seem understandable. I think down the road all websites will have blogging characteristics built in and if you don't provide a syndicated feed people won't visit.

There's too much information with too little time.

I think the key thing to explain to executives is that you are removing the fluff from their reading in some cases.

One of the things I do with anyone (not just executives) is take them to some news source and/or web site that they pay regular visits to they has an RSS feed they either didn't know about or hadn't paid attention to.

Once you show them how they get the headlines and in some cases entire articles or posts from a "source" that they were used to wading through ads, links to non-relevant content (emphasize the various categories RSS feeds typically have on most sites) and then their eyes open to the power that is in their hands with RSS.

For most folks once they get it they feel a bit like folks do when they get their first TIVO. It is that whole control feeling that is important to emphasize.

Most folks (except folks who make a living at it) don't want to know anything about the technical glue that binds things to together unless they see the overriding value first via a demonstration that is near and dear to them.

I have brought lots of folks into reading RSS feeds and they probably only have the vaguest notions of what the RSS feed really is or what it stands for any more.

But again that isn't the point in my mind. The point is to get folks interested in the value first and the tools to support someone getting that value delivered to them (pardon the pun).

As far as a newsreader goes the first step is to always show them a web based one with a good alerting scheme like Bloglines (what I use now) or something that integrates with Outlook (like newsgator).

And for most folks who are less on the technical side I would emphasize something that binds with their email client as they will find that the most natural as opposed to trying to learn a new app and its given oddities.

Actually, I'm quite a new at reading blogs (3 months) but completly addicted. At the beginning I was just going through my bookmarks twice a day, but it was going to be very time intensive. I considered to try as every body said a news aggregator. I tried several of them, but without to much enthousiasm, because nobody showed me a good one.
Then I once read about the new beta 8 version of Opera. A now I so happy with it that it will become very hard to make me change.
There is so much advantages espacially about RSS :

- Same software for Internet Browser, mail client, and news aggregator !
- the browser show you the adress bar, when you are on a website with RSS techno. It shows a small blue RSS button at the right of the address. If you want to syndicate, just click once on this button and one more time to confirm. No more than two click. No ctrl+C ctrl+V of the address in anonther software that you have to open...

I won't tell you all the advantages, it will take to long, but only the one I gave you should be enough to make you think about it...

I've used a variety of RSS readers over the last few years. It's one element that makes a huge difference in the value you get from blogging. If the RSS reader is clutzy, the experience is poor. In the beginning, I was using the reader that was built into Userland's Radio. Fine for a small number of feeds, but quickly overwhelmed.

I've also tried Newsgator, RSS Reader, Blogmatrix Jaeger, and Pluck! My current favorite is Intravnews. It integrates very well with Outlook, retrieves the whole post (not just the headline) so I can read it offline later, and lets me sort and filter using the tools I am used to.

When explaining blogs to people, I usually (as others have said) explain RSS first... that's the easy part. After that, it's a personalized news service.

Bloglines is great for many reasons. One not mentioned above is that it reports how many of its users have subscribed to the blog you have attached.

That gives you an instant estimate of the blogs "popularity." Not scientific, but at least gives you something to think about. (My blog, www.dimdump.com, has a woefully small readership, still!)

I've tried three other RSS readers. Could never make sense of them, including the one built into Firefox.

I've used FeedReader for a while but only use it for specific content searching. I would much prefer visiting a person's blog site. There is a wealth of "other" info that you loose in syndication.

Yeah, I know what you mean. It's hard to explain blogs and RSS.

I normally start by asking about the person's Internet usage. Do you surf often? Are there any sites you visit more than others? Do you receive newsletters?

Then it's questions about problems. Do you hate openning multiple windows? Do you hate typing the adress in the browser? Do you hate getting confused with the favourites folder? Is it annoying having to open all the newsletters in the inbox?

After that the conversation naturally leads to RSS readers. You can have all your favourite sites on one page and bypass the inbox.

Long live the blog!

PS. I use MyYahoo!

Personnally I have just switched from Newsgator Outlook which is pretty good but had reached the end of its trial period to Sharpreader. I try a few before buying the best solution.
Sharpreader is pretty good in the way it displays the information but also has a web window allowing you to see the whole website (and scroll the rest of the news). Surprisingly, the fact that it is not outlok based hasn't been a problem, it sits there at the bottom of my screen and warns me of new posts... definitely worth a try.

Strangely, I believe that you really start to grasp the blog concept when you experience it. I remeber being told about it for the first time and being totally unimpressed, until I tried. The RSS feed is a great feature but isn't exclusive to blogs, and will no doubt be a standard feature in every website in the feature... comments are definitely a plus and for those who want to get visibility through a blog, referencing, particularly in Google, is second to none with blogs..

I prefer to use Omea Pro, because it takes an RSS/Atom Reader/aggregator, combines it with a newsreader, and is compatible with MS Outlook. Plus it lets you index all your files and Instant Messages, so you can organize and search through them, annotate them, and take clippings from them... oh yeah.. it does all that with your favourite websites too.

But i'm totally biased, so if you're actually interested in it, check out my blog for details.

I finally decided to use a rss reader software too and I should say it is a very efficient way to monitor a maximum number of sites with the minimum effort and time... I have tried several but newsgator outlook is really nice since you do not need to have another software open and can just check blogs updates as you would receive e-mails...

I think the easiest way to get someone started is the MyYahoo section of yahoo.com. They can select from a list of RRS capatible news feeds including blogs.

Another way to read RSS feeds conveniently is to use Firefox. When you are on a blog, you have a small Orange Square on the bottom right hand side of the screen to suscribe to the RSS feed of the blog.

This adds a "live bookmarks" to the toolbar.

You can create a "blogs" folder in Bookmarks Toolbar Folder and put all the live bookmarks inside.

Hope that helps,
David Pooxi

My blog site (etov) has over 90 members and offers the feed service, but for my reading, I prefer to go to the blog itself. One of the cool things about blogger is that you can click at the top of the blog to go to the next randomly choosen blog. I see a lot that way.

I use Newsgator online edition, its free. You can view all your feeds at one time all sorted by posted date into pages. Much easier to read that Bloglines. Also Bloglines seemed to give me problems if I had a large number of posts (like after vacation) I read 490 rss feeds.

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