Organize Your Google Reader

BlogHer Original Post

Overwhelmed by that 1000+ unread count? Realizing that you've subscribed and unsubscribed to that same partial feed over and over again? Want to keep up with some deal blogs but don't want them to drown the other blogs you want to read? Then this is the organization method for you.

I've had folders in my reader for a while, but only recently did I discover the beauty of using multiple tags on each feed.

Every feed gets two tags the instant it's placed in my reader and it's important to always tag right away or you'll quickly return to a disorganized, overwhelming mess.

A Screen Shot of My Google Reader First Thing in the MorningThe first is a priority tag either !Primary, !Secondary, or !Tertiary. I use the "!" at the beginning of the tag to make sure those show up first in my tag list.

My !Primary tag contains the feeds I absolutely want to read right away, I've also set my reader settings so that it opens to this folder.

!Secondary contains feeds I want to keep on top of most days but don't feel the need to read during breakfast.

!Tertiary is my lowest priority tag and is used for the feeds I won't be reading on a daily basis. Most blogs I've newly subscribed to get placed in the !Tertiary tag and most partial feed blogs also end up there.

The second is a tag about why I subscribed to the blog and is broken up into three groups. While every feed needs at least one of these "whys" to make it to my reader, many have several of these tags. I tag by how I've interacted with the blog (* to group), how I know the writer (+ to group), and what topic the blog is about (- to group).

My interaction tags are about building community and readership for my blog. How can I expect people to leave comments or link to me if I don't ever go out and do that for them? I tag based on comments I've left, links I've made, and comments I've received.

My how I know the writer tags are about reading the blogs of the people I'm interacting with in person. I tag these based on how I know the person who writes the blog.

My topic tags are based on the content of the actual blog. If I'm looking to get inspired for dinner I might flip through the food section. If I'm making my grocery list Sunday morning, I might flip through the deals section to make sure I don't miss a good sale at my grocery store. If I want a laugh I might flip through the humor section.

Any time you read a post filed under one tag it marks that same post read on all your tags (you can opt to keep a particular post unread if you desire). You can also see what tags each feed is filed under at the bottom of each post in your reader so if you read a post and realize it should be filed under a particular topic you can easily check if it is. And if you decide it should also be filed under an additional tag you can just click the title of the feed within the reader item and then check off a new tag in the "Feed Settings" drop down menu.

Where I used to open my reader to an eternal 1000+ unread items, today I opened it to a very reasonable 11 unread priority posts, 254 unread secondary posts which are what I definitely think I want to read today, that eternal 1000+ unread count in my tertiary tag which will keep me satiated in all of my free time, and I can drill down if I've clicked into my reader with a specific mission in mind.

BlogHer Marketing Coordinator Carrie Winegarden (@carrieactually) blogs at Carrie Actually and Kuchen Together.


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