I have been using Google Reader to organize my RSS feeds for a few years now, and I have found it invaluable. Instead of having to visit many different sites to find new content, I just fire up Reader and here it all comes in one neat package. In addition, if one blogger runs up against an issue and takes a break from posting for a while, I don’t have to waste time checking their site regularly. The tool has also made my job search easier, as I can set up many different targeted searches on certain sites (like Indeed or Simply Hired) and watch the results come in. Instead of checking the searches periodically and having to figure out which postings are new to me and which I already saw, I use Reader to do the heavy lifting. The use of categories makes it easier to focus on the specific feeds I am interested in at a particular moment in time, like job searches, library information, entertainment, etc.
Twitter, on the other hand, is something I don’t feel I’ve used to its full potential. I’ve had an account that I use to follow feeds of interest, but I’ve had trouble keeping up with it (as I have with Facebook) as life has become increasingly busy over the last few years. I feel that Twitter and Facebook almost require being constantly connected in order for me to keep up with all of the content being delivered. This is why I find TweetDeck so useful. I use it to segregate feeds into categories, so that it’s easier to pluck out the ones I’m interested in. While I very much enjoy the humorous musings of @blainecapatch and @meganamram, if I can only check once during the day and I’m interested only in joblist postings, I can check the appropriate column on TweetDeck and ignore less critical feeds. At this point, however, Twitter is almost exclusively a consumption tool for me, and I want to do a better job of unlocking its potential for two-way communication.
Storify is new to me. I played around with it this week, and I like the interface, but I haven’t yet figured out how this is so different from embedding media in a blog post. Yes, it’s easy, and the integrated search makes it even easier, but it’s not a game-changer as far as I’m concerned. I will explore some more, but for right now, I don’t know that it provides enough improvement over other platforms, even for those of us who are not PHP experts.
Comparing the tools, even though I use Reader the most, I think Twitter is the one with the most potential because it can do all of the passive consumption that Reader can (as long as adoption of both methods is comparable for content creators), and it offers the added dimension of being able to have discussions about the content (or anything else). As far as Storify is concerned, I see it as a potential alternative to blogging platforms, but not one that I feel is a need-to-have at this point.