An on-going discussion during IMA Blog team meetings is how to sort or categorize content for our readers without stripping you of the right to stumble on to something unexpected. The end result of that discussion is always the same…someone ends up saying, “anyone can already sort by category.” Then we move on to other more pressing things, like how to make the blog feel flawlessly cohesive and spontaneous. (BTW, how do you think we are doing on that one?)
So, instead of making an elaborate design-based effort that would no doubt involve too many hours of Matt Gipson’s time, we thought it might be useful to show you how you can already customize your blog reading experience and see how that goes.
I am going to cover a couple of basic things here…RSS feeds and news readers or aggregators. For some of you this may be old hat. My feelings on the subject are best captured by a well-traveled flight attendant beginning a safety lecture to a plane full of impatient flyers…”Listen carefully, or at least be quiet. It is always the first time for somebody.” And so it is…so, if you’re a blog readin’ aficionado, then you might as well go back to your reader…that is if you ever clicked through…
For those of you who are now on the edge of your seat, let’ press on.
First thing to know about is the IMA Blog’s categories. Each post we write has at least one category attached. Most have several.
This is a feature that easily allows you to focus on what you want to read. When you land on the IMA Blog page…notice that there is a list of categories to the right. (You see them pictured above.) You can click in to that category page and bookmark it. Voila! You have just created your own horticulture-only blog, or whatever category you selected.
Another option is to click that inviting orange RSS icon. It beckons to you from the far right. Click on it to be directed to a new page that allows you to sign up for a feed. You can choose from a plethora of news-readers. My personal fav is Bloglines.
I find it easy to use and has no weirdness when you move between Mac and PC worlds as I do. News readers allow you to sign up for a nearly endless stream of content. You can go out onto the internet and start clicking your little heart out wherever you see that orange icon and amass quite a list of things you just can’t live without reading. Then your news reader sorts it into a list, shows you what has been recently updated and allows you to preview bits from any feed.
When I discovered the ease and joy of the news reader it was my new BFF for at least a week (which is at least a month in “online time,” it works like dog years), so I hope that you will feel the same way.
And of course, you can just visit the IMA Blog the “old-fashioned way.” Don’t you think it is funny that there is already an old-fashioned way to read a blog? Pretty cool in my opinion.