Google Reader Dead? Long Live the King!

I am an admitted advocate of Google products.  This morning, when perusing my Google Reader, I came across a post from Zoli Erdos, “Oh, No, The RSS Debate Again,” which referenced a post from Sam Diaz, “RSS: A good idea at the time but there are better ways now.”

Diaz claims the Google Reader is a Web 1.0 tool and not sufficient for today’s Web 2.0 world.  He sites some statistics from Forrester as support for his argument:

According to a Forrester Research study about the reach of social technologies, only nine percent of U.S. online adults said they use an RSS feed monthly, down from 11 percent the year before. By contrast, 50 percent are visiting social networking sites, up from 34 percent last year and 39 percent are reading blogs, up from 37 percent a year ago.

His argument against pretty much boils down to managing the feeds and digesting the volume, coupled with new tools such as Yahoo and Google News, Techmeme, bookmarks of favorite sites, Facebook and Twitter to find articles.

If you need content in real time, you probably do need to visit sites and get the help of others who are promoting their content, but for the majority of users, a tool such as Google Reader is invaluable for keeping current.

I’d suggest that a smaller percent are using Reader, because they don’t know it exists or understand the value once they do.  Reader is a time management tool.

I believe many early adopters and heavy users forget that the average internet user is rather naive.  Consider the above noted statistics, 50% of users have visited social network sites and 39% are reading blogs.  What are the other people doing online? 

Users who are only now getting engaged in blogs and social networks will explore, find many fascinating things, and ultimately need to manage the time they spend online.  Business professionals need to stay current on the topics impacting their industry.  What better way than through blogs and social networks?  The Reader allows one to manage the glut of information without wasting time.

I currently have 63 sites I follow through Reader.  I could never pay attention to this many sites by visiting them all. I typically hit Reader after making posts to my community web site, roughly 7-9 a.m. is when I get to it.  After 9:00 a.m. I hardly hit it unless I’m working at night. 

Each day, roughly 100-200 items are tagged as read.  I try to scan through the previous day’s posts until I hit one I’ve already read.   According to Reader, in the past 30 days I read 1701 items and shared 55 items. 

My shared items are my keepers.  These are the ones I found valuable to projects I’m working on.  Once shared, I’ll later return to them while working to extract the nuggets of wisdom that attracted me in the first place.

So, for roughly one hour or less per day, I can track over 60 sites and stay current in the areas I’m most interested.  The efficiency is unmatched and I can always add new sites I come across through social tools.

Could new tools be added to make Reader even better?  Absolutely.  Does this render the Reader absolete?  Absolutely not.

The Reader is not dead, it is waiting to be discovered.

Interact – My Social Media Workbook

The social media and real-time online conversation chatter is at a fever pitch.

While there are many individuals who have been using social media and many experts on social media, I didn’t see where there was fundamentals coaching for business professionals.

As a result I put together a social media coaching program targeted for business professionals that I call “Interact”.  It is designed to assist individuals in developing an online presence consistent with one’s professional goals.

To conduct the coaching I am in the process of developing a workbook.  The workbook is in three parts.  The first part is all about planning.  The second part is doing.  The third part recommends tips and tricks as well as training on a variety of tools to help a user monitor and manage their on-going online activity.

The workbook takes a fundamental, step-by-step approach.  It helps the user make sense of the myriad of sites, tools, and theories out there to get them online in a manageable manner.

Supplementing the workbook with Coaching, a user can take their activity and understanding to another level, and have a resource to go to when they are asked about a new site or service.

I’ve worked through the first part in draft form with a client and am now about 50% finished with the second part.

This has been a great exercise, because it has taught me to refocus some of my efforts and tighten up my own online activity.   It has also gotten me to explore best practices and read extensively on how others are using these services.

I’m looking forward to finishing the first draft, soliciting some feedback, and getting it published.

Social Media Management

The read write web and rise of social networks has resulted in a serious management issue for many users, myself included.

Products and tools are now being launched to help users pull all their social networks into a single space or post to them all in the blast of a single email.

Last week I signed on for Posterous.  I’ve been using it to make all posts to my NewsOverCoffee placeblog.  Previously, I posted through Blogger, then had to put a link on the Facebook fan page and a Tweet through Twitter.  I had stopped tagging them in Delicious.  Now one email updates each site.  Very convenient and it ups the number of communications I have through each.

Now I need to begin using it in a more advanced manner to separate NewsOverCoffee from posts I make to this site and The Nunamaker Group site.

Streamy I found two days ago.  It aggregates and links through to your social network sites.  Now I can go to one location and view my Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and other sites without going from site to site.

I haven’t used it enough to decide if it is a good desktop alternative or if it is simply easier to have four tabs open.

FriendFeed has been around for a while, and I have some groups I’ve joined to get news and info on topics of interest, but haven’t used it to follow my own online activity.

What these sites demonstrate is that our social web is evolving.  This evolution is pulling together networks in third party apps, and as it does our overall online experience will change with it.

Huge implications, one of which is in regard to monetizing these sites.   Traditional advertising won’t work – I don’t see sidebar ads from Facebook through Streamy.

Posterous

I tested Posterous the other day as a tool to make multiple posts with a single email.

It worked in its base form and now when I send an email to post@posterous.com it is published to Blogger, Twitter, Delicious, and Facebook.

I did have a few challenges.  I had created the account under my name, “Nunamaker” and added a second account for “NewsOverCoffee”.  I couldn’t, however, get the email to split neatly between the two identities.  Further, I was afraid if I tried opening a second account, I’d lose the “NewsOverCoffee” name, so I left it as is and am posting NewsOverCoffee material to the nunamaker.posterous page.  Not perfect, but it was a first try working with the site.

What disappointed me was the inability to post to LinkedIn.  This was not the fault of Posterous, but instead LinkedIn’s decision not to share code (as I understood it from the email response I got from Posterous).

The tool is handy and I’ve been using it all week to make posts for my community site.  Will keep working the email addresses to see if I can get it more customized.

Testing Posterous

Pardon the upcoming series of emails as I test a new service!

Posted via email from Ross Nunamaker

Gen X and Leadership

Tammy Erickson has an article on the Harvard Business Publishing Blog titled, “Why Generation X Has the Leaders We Need Now“.

As a Gen X’er myself, I’m always interested in how the group is defined and I have to admit that the traits Erickson notes are very recognizable.

She explains how environmental change will impact how we lead:

Future leaders in all spheres will have to contend with a world with finite limits, no easy answers, and the sobering realization that we are facing significant, seemingly intractable problems on multiple fronts. Perhaps the biggest change from the past: leaders will have to listen and respond to diverse points of view. There will be no dominant voice.

This clearly speaks to a networked world wherein transparency, honesty, and integrity are critical to individuals and companies.  One’s reputation will become the determining factor in who consumers or other individuals chose to listen to amongst all the noise.

What else did she say about Gen X to lead her to believe we are poised to lead, let me paraphrase:

  • Resourceful and Hardworking
  • Self-reliance via distrust of institutions and a well developed network
  • Avid adopters of collaborative technology and comfortable in both digital and global world environments
  • Unconscious acceptance of diversity
  • Inclined to innovate
  • Ability to isolate practical truths
  • Fiercely dedicated to being good parents
  • Practical and value-oriented sensibilities

Having read the piece, I’m now much interested in reading her forth-coming book, “What’s Next, Gen X?: Keeping Up, Moving Ahead, and Getting the Career You Want.”

What I’m Learning on the Climb

Each July I get hooked watching the Tour de France on Vs.  Normally, I watch the last hour of the evening rebroadcast (about 10-11p.m. EST), but when they hit the mountain stages, I try to watch as much as possible.  The mountain climbs are gruelling and differentiate the teams and riders like no other element of the race.

Seth Godin has a post “Winning on the Uphills“, which speaks to his learning how the downhill speed on a bike is limited, but the uphill is not. The post  relates to business and is well-timed with the Tour coming to its conclusion.

For me it was not only relatable, but personal.  In mid-May my position was eliminated.  My wife stays at home with our two children.  I had some well-timed advice from a friend – go out on your own.  So while I have been applying for jobs I’ve been working to establish my own contract and consulting services business.

Soul searching, creative thinking, networking, connecting, writing, learning, and engaging have been in over-drive as I’ve worked to make it up the hill.

What I’ve found:

  • I’m not alone
  • People like to talk (and chat, email, text, etc)
  • People appreciate a helping hand
  • There are a lot of ideas out there
  • People like to make money together

You don’t get to the top by breaking away early, you need to identify the riders you trust and can work with, then together you can break away from the pack when the time is right.

Thanks to Seth for the great post – and congrats to Lance Armstrong, who won’t win this year, but showed his remarkable ability and moreover determination to make the climb up the hill at the front of the pack.