3 ways I use Google Reader to do things other than read

The ultimate Swiss Army Knife for sale in Interlaken

A post by George Veletseanos got me thinking about one of the key tools in my PLE – Google Reader – and how I use GReader for things other than reading the myriad of sites and blogs I subscribe to. Here are three things I do with GReader beyond reading.

1) Archive my tweets.

I subscribe to the RSS feed of my Twitter account. I started doing this back in the day when Twitter capped access to old tweets at “about a month” or around 3000, or some other ridiculous number. Now, with Twitter tightening developer access to their api’s, we may begin to see services that allow you access old tweets slowly dwindle.

If you have some server skills, you might want to use a tool called ThinkUp to archive tweets (which not only archives, but also gives you some Twitter stats on your own network activity).

But not everyone has access to their own server or the chops to install and configure their own web service, so a relatively quick and dirty way to archive your tweets is to subscribe to the RSS feed of your Twitter account.

Now, your Twitter accounts RSS feed is even tougher to find than the RSS feed for a Delicious tag. To subscribe to the RSS feed of a Twitter account, you need to know your Twitter user id number. You can do this using a service like MyTwitterID or IDFromUser and then plunking that number into the following url:


Replacing the xxxxx with your Twitter ID number. Pop that RSS feed in GReader and you are archiving your own tweets.

This is also handy if I want to archive the tweets of key members of my PLN and take advantage of the second thing I like to do in GReader…

2) Search my trusted network for resources.

In GReader, you’ve got the power of Google search,  and I  often use that as a place to start my search about a group of topics. After all, I only add sites that I trust and have vetted as being a valuable resource to me, so who go to the crazy wild web first when I can go directly to the sources I have curated?

3) Track my own comments.

If I add a comment to a blog post, I will subscribe to that comment feed so I can follow up with what gets posted as comments and take part in the conversation. I have tried a number of comment tracking services over the years, but still find this the most reliable and user friendly way to track conversation on blogs. In Greader I have a folder called Comments, and when I subscribe to the Comments feed for a blog post, I add the feed there. That way I can take track the convo and take part in the conversation.

So those are 3 ways that I use Google Reader beyond reading. How about you? Any hacks or ways you use Google Reader that is a bit unusual?

Photo: The Ultimate Swiss Army Knife by redjar used under Creative Commons license.


Clint Lalonde

Just a guy writing some stuff, mostly for me these days on this particular blog. For my EdTech/OpenEd stuff, check out https://edtechfactotum.com/.


7 thoughts on “3 ways I use Google Reader to do things other than read

  1. Similar to archiving tweets, I use the RSS of my twitter favourites feed as a sort of "read later" feature by subscribing to it in google reader. no reason I couldn't simply go through my favourited tweets, but since I use google reader as, well a READER, it made more sense to me.

    I guess the other thing I use it for is as a monitoring system for various wikis I tend, especially in regards to spam. I'm not always in these wikis, and so if I see a lot of edits come through the recent changes feed it alerts me that they are under siege again. Sigh.

    1. That's a good idea re) Twitter favorites. How did you get the RSS feed of your favorites? Funny how favorites has become an ad-hoc "read later" feature. I use that as well as i'm scrolling thru the stream and see something that i don't have time to read right now.

  2. Good stuff!

    You might check out http://rowfeeder.com for archiving tweets- mine saves them to a google spreadsheet. And one I really dig and use is Grabateer because it not only archives, but gives me keyword search on old tweets (can't do that at TWITTER- it's not like they dont have them stored!).

    I try to generate OPML files for my student blogs so they/I can import into reader as a folder. The bundles thing used to be handy for collections of feeds and RSS from that, have not tried it in a while.

    One of my ds106 students came up with the idea of starring items to mark things she had commented on (not if you use stars for anything else though)

    1. Thanks for the Twitter archive leads. Just checked the bundles thing and it still works (haven't used that for awhile as well). Even generates an OPML feed for the bundle, which is quite slick.

  3. I like the comment subscription idea. I try to keep track of my comments with a "mycomments" tag in diigo/delicious/whatever, but your way is ever so clever.

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