Now that the very dedicated RSS-reading masses have had a night to mourn the loss of Google Reader, it's time to look forward to the future of news consumption. And, really, said masses should have moved on when Google killed all its reader's social features back in 2011. But, alas, bloggers and such freaked out, maybe a little too vehemently, when last night's death knell arrived. We're sorry for your loss. But, in this sensitive time of grieving, let The Atlantic Wire nudge you toward the brighter side of things. Here's how to survive:
Get an RSS Alternative
Google Reader isn't the only RSS news aggregator out there, you know. In fact, when it nixed all of those social features, a bunch of readers appeared to fill the void.
The favorite: The die-hard techies on Hacker News and Reddit love NewsBlur, "a personal news reader," which has a lot of those beloved social features. It also has iOS and Android compatible apps. Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan, a dedicated user since 2011, outlines 10 very good reasons to sign up. Most importantly, NewsBlur provides an extremely easy transition from Google Reader. Indeed, when you sign up and log in, this is the first screen you see:
Click that, then after a few more clicks, News Blur will transplant your feeds, all before Google Reader dies. After that, NewsBlur works like a prettier, more modern version of Google Reader 1.0. (Of course, the site is having some connectivity issues because of the onslaught of Google Reader fans checking it out right now.)
Want something different? Feedly might be a nice experiment for the more adventurous news junkies. Unlike NewsBlur, it looks nothing like Reader, with more of a news-site feel than a vertical list of links and blurbs. It also has a one-click conversion option. And it isn't suffering from traffic overload issues either.
The die-hard option: The Old Reader is an attempt to replicate Google Reader's good old days. Honestly, it's not the prettiest—or most innovative—option out there. But some people are just set in their ways.
The most interesting newbie: Update: Digg has put up a blog post introducing its rumored Reader. But unfortunately you'll have to wait an indeterminate amount of time until it comes out. Sign up here to get an alert when it's ready. The new Digg is supposedly coming out with a reader alternative, which sounds great, because Digg does news collecting so well through its main site and app.
Exclusive: @digg will release a new reader with all the features of Google Reader plus more— Anthony De Rosa (@AntDeRosa) March 14, 2013
Other options: For those not satisfied with any of these options, some proactive Reader fans have put together this very comprehensive crowdsourced spreadsheet of alternatives.
Get on that Social-News Thing
So, maybe it's time to move on from RSS feeds. They are kind of Internet 1.0, after all.
For news junkies: A well maintained Twitter feed will surface all the days biggest news with some fun stuff in between. However, for people not watching their feeds all day long—read: non-media people—the fast moving stream could present gaps in your reading. The nice thing about readers is that they present all the news forever and ever, just sitting there. And Twitter often doesn't provide much context, unlike Reader, which at the very least has a headline.
For the visually inclined: Tumblr can provide a snapshot look at the links coming out of entire news sites throughout the day. And Tumblr does a better job of slowing down the process than Twitter, as Laurie Voss explains on her blog. "The model is simple: readers subscribe to your content by following your Tumblr, which posts a curated subset of your content, edited for the quick-glance format of the Dashboard, in the hopes that readers will click through."
And, again, for the die-hards: If you're really into Google, Google+ works as a fine replacement. But it takes a lot of work to move your favorite news sites inside the network's circles, and then you have to get used to a whole new interface. But you're probably doing that anyway.
Embrace Link Aggregators
For those willing to miss some stories, link aggregation sites put together a certain type of big picture for news. Digg has awesome quirky stories of the day. For those who want a snapshot of a particular subject, there are sites like Techmeme and Mediagazer, which put together the "best" links on the days tech and media news, respectively. Of course, the problem with these, much like social sites, is that you risk missing a certain post from your favorite blogger or news site just because some algorithm hasn't deemed it "important." This type of thing is best supplemented with other sources of news.
One, if not a combination of all of these things, should help you wade through all the day's news. Honestly, change is good. You'll see more. And, hey, there's always bookmarking.