Friday, October 03, 2008

Following - Visit The Blogs That You Follow, From Your Browser, Occasionally

I'm a great believer in cyberspace, and it's use in everyday life. I browse, I chat in online forums, and I chat using Instant Messengers (3 of those). I couldn't do without cyberspace, ever. But sometimes, I like to go places physically, maybe to a restaurant, so I can taste some of the food that I read about during my online activities.

And so it is with Following, which is a sort of cyber-cyberspace community. You can setup relationships with other folks blogs, and theirs with yours (backlinked through your profile), and you can view their blogs using Google Reader. But I like to use my browser occasionally, to view a blog as it's designed to be viewed - through a browser, not through a newsfeed reader.

A newsfeed reader displays a newsfeed - an XML replica of your blog, not the original HTML copy. XML is meant to be viewed by computer programs - newsfeed readers - primarily. When your newsfeed reader detects that a given blog contains something (generally new) that might interest you, you are shown a snippet of an article, with a link to the original HTML copy. You can follow the link to view the web site (blog) in question, in your browser.

Just as there are always going to be differences in the way different browsers render a given web site, there will be differences between how newsfeed readers render a web site, relevant to the way the web site author intended for it to be viewed. Hence the link, in the newsfeed reader, so you can view the web site in your browser.

And using Following is similar. You can Follow a blog, but viewing a blog in your browser is never a bad idea. In many cases, viewing a blog in your browser, as you setup a Following, is a good idea too. When you do that, and hoping that the blog owner was thoughtful and installed a Following gadget in the blog, you simply click on the "Follow This Blog" link, to Follow the blog in question.

Having said that, I will note that I, personally, am generally more inclined to Follow a blog that interests me, when the blog owner has been thoughtful and installed a Followers gadget. I encounter very few blogs that motivate me to manually add a blog, using the Reading List "Add" button. I would bet that I'm not alone here.

It's not like you pay for a gadget. They're free, so live a little - maybe you'll get more readers. Of course, if your blog has a Classic template, you can't have XML based accessories, like the Followers gadget, in your blog. Sorry. Maybe this will be one more reason for you to upgrade to Layouts.

Continuing in my musings, I have to wonder about the need to mass import all of your Google Reader links, so you can Follow each one. Right now, this is not a completely reliable mechanism. Complaints of missed Followings, and duplicate subscriptions, are reported regularly.

And what kind of life do people have, when they are Following dozens of blogs simultaneously? What else do they do, besides Follow blogs, in cyber-cyberspace? So be selective - Follow the blogs that truly interest you, and visit those blogs with your browser, so you can setup the Following. And add the Followers gadget, so folks can Follow your blog, conveniently.

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7 comments:

Descartes said...

Well, at least you have a whole phalanx of followers-even if they do just read your posts from the blogger dashboard.

Chuck said...

THat's the short term view. A longer term view would be that each of those Followers represents other Followers who Follow them. Maybe just one of those Followers, or one of their Followers, will surf through the maze of blogs and profiles, and will land on my blog.

And if they don't, it's a nice shiny decoration for my sidebar. And it doesn't occupy that much space anyway.

And I am, by the way, honoured to have a famous philosopher Follow my ramblings. ;-)

Chuck said...

And BTW, does Foodies have a Followers gadget? Because I don't see it, if it's there.

brinfan said...

I'm a newest of newbies here. This is all quite interesting. I'd appreciate help, if possible. I've created a list of blogs to follow but some of them include numerous postings. Is there a way to delete selected or older postings? I'll certainly be adding this one!
Thank you.

Evelien said...

"when the blog owner has been thoughtful and installed a Followers gadget."

Maybe the blog owner is thoughtful, but just not able to install a gadget?

"It's not like you pay for a gadget"

I would pay for it! I would have to give up the carefully created template I have been using for years and leave my ISP to have my blog hosted on a google server. That is TOO HIGH a price to pay.

I would love to enable followers, if I could.

Chuck said...

Evelien,

It sounds to me like you are describing the trials and tribulations of using a custom / third party template. I wish there was a simpler and more optimistic answer, but there isn't. If you're using FTP publishing, you are stuck with a classic template, and no XML.

Evelien said...

Thanks for your reply Chuck. Sorry if I sounded a bit upset. I have already found a way to add a link for following my blog. Now I only need a way to show the followers... Even if I have to code it bit-by-bit in JavaScript, I will find it!

And thanks for your great blog!