Read it when you need it!


This post was triggered by a tweet from Jess McCulloch (@jessmcculloch) that initiated a train of thought much longer than suggested by her original question.

Jess’s tweet  raised the issue of the “Read later” tag/list asking does anyone get round to their “Read later”s. I sent a reply to the effect that I never use “Read later” options as I know perfectly well that I will never read them! This started me thinking about what I do actually do with respect to dealing with the myriad links and posts that cross my desktop each day.

My online “imperatives”

These are some of my personal strategies (other than using an iGoogle page for easy access to many things):

  • Don’t try to read/view (or promise myself to read/view) everything that passes across my desktop.
  • Don’t collect “read later” lists because I know I won’t do it.
  • Have in my GoogleReader feed only very few feeds from blogs I have a particular reason to follow. Even then I don’t expect to read them all in depth or even at all.
  • Skim anything that attracts my immediate attention eg from the title or topic mentions and then tag with Diigo. That way I can find it with a search of my Diigo tags.
  • Adopt a read it when I need it approach – hence skimming & tagging in Diigo for those items that interest me at first glance rather than reading them in depth.
  • Adopt a find it when I need it approach – use my search skills to find what I need when I need it then tag in Diigo for future use. This saves me inordinate amounts of time as I rarely read, and therefore don’t catalogue/tag, an item until I need it.

  • Use different bookmarking applications for different purposes – for example all my virtual room links and a number of frequent access sites are saved via Google Bookmarks for easy access whereas I use Diigo for web pages, blog posts etc that need to be tagged for me to find relevant ones.
  • Never re-share, re-tweet, re-post links without reading or at least skimming them first! This is one reason that I don’t re-tweet often. I know it is counter to the way most people operate on Twitter but I am unwilling to re-share anything I haven’t accessed myself!
  • With anything that gives me a daily/weekly email of updates I rarely open these until I want information from them. I simply file them in a folder labelled with the source and then access & keyword search the folder.


I think I am lucky in that I remember key information relating to things that interest me (I have a magpie mind) even if they have only been briefly mentioned or have been submerged in other content. Also I am  a relatively good “searcher” and usually find it easy to access the information I need quite quickly when I need it!.

Edublogs webinar overview. RSS – your connection to the globe


This was a fantastic session by Sue Waters (Edublogs Support Manager) who is well known to so many of us as @suewaters on Twitter and through her terrific posts on The Edublogger. As always with Sue’s sessions this one was very interactive with lots of discussion and ideas shared through whiteboards, textchat and audio.

The Session

As usual we recorded the session (please let me know if you access it). After introductions Sue began with a poll to checkout how many of us were already using RSS and/or a personalised home page. A higher proportion of participants were using a personalised homepage than were using RSS.

Next Sue sought ideas from the group about our perception of  RSS – this led to discussion about the name itself and its lack of clarity for most of us. There was a general feeling that Really Simple Syndication was in itself a confusing name and a consensus that it would have been more comprehensible if the name was Really Simple Subscription. I certainly found it totally confusing when I first met it but finally realised that the “Syndication” part of the name was probably derived from the news industry sharing of stories to different outlets.

Sue then made the logical progression from: now we know what RSS is; to how we might use it.


These points then formed the basis for a more detailed look at how RSS can be used. Sue also Application Shared her own RSS feed to illustrate her explanations and to show us how easily feeds can be added and organised.

Sue made references to using a personalised homepage such as iGoogle to manage RSS and any other feeds, links and  information. We had a FineFocus session on using iGoogle as a personalised homepage late last year.


I so enjoyed this! I always love Sue’s sessions because there is always so much interactivity and so much to learn. I have been using RSS for quite a long time although in a very low key way, and I gained new insights and tips. As always I took away ideas, eg using a search of my feed for information and things to explore further eg NetVibes.

PS if you are interested in finding out more about a range of Web2.0 Tools checkout the  Edublogs Teacher Challenge on Free Tools including my challenge on using PhotoFiltre for image editing.

Next Webinar

SerendipitybsmallOur next session is an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday April 14th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday April 15th at 7am West Aus, mid morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual Elluminate room. This is one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues” for our poll on the topic of the day. If you want to propose a topic in advance then visit the Serendipity Wallwisher and add your topic.

In the Future

If you are a regular visitor to our webinars you will know that we alternate “Fine Focus” sessions on specific topics with “Serendipity” the unconference sessions where we choose a topic by poll at the start of the session. Sometimes the very fact of being asked for “hot topics” or other ideas for discussion or learning tends to make our minds blank. This has prompted me to start a Serendipity Wallwisher for topic suggestions. Please visit the wall and add your ideas for Serendipity topics so that we have more choices to consider. Some of these ideas might also form the basis for future “Fine Focus” sessions.