Everyone knows that things move really fast these days. With three major social networks all hoppin’ all the time, how are you supposed to keep up with the news, aside from visiting 30+ sites multiple times a day? I don’t mean Aunt Jennie’s new baby, or whether or not that guy from high school is still a raging alcoholic, I’m talking about news, in the Reuters sense. I polled a few people and asked what they preferred, and added that to what I already knew to give you this how-to.
This is an easy one. You’re there anyway, so adding news to your feed seems like the easiest way to keep up.
Facebook: Almost every news entity/blog (including us!) has a Facebook page that you can “Like” or subscribe to. This integrates their posts into your news feed (or would, if Facebook would stop screwing around with their algorithms) and makes it simple to glance at headlines and see what grabs your fancy. If you don’t see enough posts showing up, you can always create a new list and add your news sources to it. Then just click over to that list to see only news.
Twitter: Another easy one: Just follow your favorite news sources. If they get lost in the sea of opinionated tweets, toss them on a list, or find a list (like the ones that Eric has put together) and subscribe to it. Then click your way into news-land bliss. It doesn’t have to be strictly news, of course. Due to the brevity of Twitter, you’re likely to absorb a little more opinion, so you can add personalities like @rosa or @andersoncooper to get a little twist on the news.
Google +: The new social site that we love so much also lends itself to news gathering. On top of following news personalities (and news entities, as Google opens up Plus to businesses) in their own circles (similar to Facebook and Twitter lists) you can also add your interests to your Sparks, then click over to them to see the Google News search results for that topic. I haven’t seen a way to combine all of your separate interests into one clickable list, but I guess that’s what Google News is for. More on that, later.
For those of you who like your news on the go, and like to keep track of what you’ve seen, RSS readers are the way to go. RSS feeds vary from publication to publication, but almost everyone has one. RSS (RDF Site Summary) is essentially a down and dirty version of an article, usually truncated to ensure the reader clicks through to the site to finish the article. RSS feeds alone are kinda nasty in a browser, and require a reader to keep track of your news. On the plus side, they will note which articles you have read, so you don’t have to search for new content as it comes out.
I use Google Reader, which offers a web interface and easy sorting, for my desktop reading, and gReadie (WP7) for mobile. gReadie accesses your Google Reader account to update your read and unread articles, so you don’t get the same content twice. Waly recommends NextGen (WP7) for the clean interface. Reader Jake Gross has this to say: (Android)
RSS is a very good tool to gather information from many sites without having to remember to visit every site 2-3 times a day to keep up, as well as giving your bookmark bar a rest. However, the best part is that it will keep track of what you’ve already read, so you no longer need to re-read articles only to realize you’ve seen it before. Unlike Twitter and Facebook (and visiting the site) you don’t have the option to comment or interact with the author.
Visiting major news sites can be obnoxious and confusing. They don’t always offer the content you want easily and their search functions are as useful as a panda to an astronaut. That’s where news aggregates come in. Sites like Google News or Yahoo! News offer customization as well as integration with your homepage. If you want more tech news, just adjust the slider to the left and move it to the top of the list (as seen in the screenshot above). Of course, Google Reader also integrates with your homepage, but you might not be subscribed to certain sites that offer a different view of the news. Google News constantly crawls news sites for articles, and groups them together under a unified headline so that you may choose the news provider of your choice. The downside to these services is that a top news story (like Amanda Knox or Apple today) might stay at the top of your page all day, and you might miss something like HTC deciding to include HIV vaccines in all future mobile devices, nor do you get to select to follow certain sites or writers that you like, unless you dig for it.
However you choose to get your news, there are tons of options out there for the modern, connected human. Whether you like tech news, world news, or gossip news, there’s a way for you to keep in touch.
Thanks to everyone who responded to our questions about your preferred news source.