October 09, 2008

I'm Evangelizing RSS With Google Reader's E-mail Function

Living on the cutting edge as early adopters at times can seem like an exclusive club. The tools we use every day have funny names to the outside world - Twitter... OPML... Technorati... Plurk? But while we're hanging out in these oxygen-poor communities, and seeking out new ways to aggregate all our online activities in one place, a good deal of the people we work with, our family and our friends, have precious little to aggregate. But they get e-mail, and you can leverage e-mail as the bridge to an RSS-powered life.

Google Reader Shows I E-mail 1 or 2 items a day

Google Reader is my starting point to consume the day's Web news. While Google Reader offers the best way to consume hundreds of RSS feeds in one place, and read them quickly, it has entrenched itself as a core element of my online activity thanks to a few social functions. The first is the ability to quickly add items to a link blog, which can be embedded on my blog, or streamed to lifestreaming sites, including Plaxo, Strands, Social Median and FriendFeed. And while that retains the geek cred, it's the second element, e-mail, which can bring in the mainstream and have a more long-term impact, in terms of expanding the conversation .

I can even track the sources I e-mail most frequently

Every single item in Google Reader can be e-mailed to anyone, most easily to those in your Google Address Book. In the last few months, I've been liberally e-mailing feed items to colleagues, to friends, and even to family, my wife and parents included. Why do this, when they are used to simply getting a link, or, better yet, a full copy of the story, which I could also do easily? Because I know that with the combination of repeated exposure and curiosity, we can help make the mysterious seem common, and each note offers recipients the opportunity to sign up for Reader and begin gathering subscriptions themselves.

E-mailing an item pre-populates the subject line, and the message is simple

E-mail, without question, crossed the chasm to the mainstream long ago, and it sets the stage for you help spread some of the elite tech knowledge you've gained and share it with a friend. If you're already using Google Reader, or other similar tools that offer the ability to e-mail out, think of how you can be an evangelist and bring a little preview of our world to those who haven't yet seen the light. I will be.