How to consume, manage YOUR content online
US-based reader Rangaprabhu Parthasarthy tells us how to make the most of popular content consumption and article storage mechanisms available online.
In the post PC era, consumption of news and other content is changing dramatically. This post features a few of the most popular content consumption and article storage mechanisms. Some of these services are integrated with how you access them on a computer, thereby making it a seamless experience.
The RSS feed has been around for a while now. It is still is the best form of aggregating information passively without having to manually fetch it. At first, e-mail programmes (Outlook, Thunderbird) integrated a way to update RSS feeds as did browsers. But the real step forward was when Google Reader was launched -- it's a great way to subscribe and consume content in one place.
On Android devices, Feedly is a great app to consume RSS feeds. Feedly can either aggregate general content of interest within specific topics or serve as a front end to your Google Reader account.
In all honesty, Feedly on Android is easier to use and on the eye than Google Reader. Feedly is also available as a Chrome/Firefox add-on for your PC/Mac and for iOS.
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Most of us either tweet (a small set of people) or follow tweets (a lot of us). Twitter offers a pithy way to convey your message or alternatively share links to more long form content. Every celebrity, sportsperson, politician, newspaper, journalist worth their salt is part of it.
Twitter can be used to consume content if it is your chosen medium. It could either be via visiting their website, using Chrome/Firefox extensions or via the innumerable Twitter apps on Android/iOS/Blackberry OS/Windows Phone Marketplace.
I used to be a fan of Tweetie (now folded into the main Twitter client) and Twitterific (on iOS). I use Tweetdeck (also owned by Twitter) on my Android phone.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier
See now, read later
We come across articles on the web shared via Twitter or by friends via e-mail or just random browsing. You might want to read these articles at a later time. But how do you store them for later access?.
Hello Instapaper and ReadItLater. Both these apps/services allow the reader to store links and articles that they would like to read later in a form that makes it comfortable to consume them.
Instapaper is unfortunately not on Android but available for PC, Mac, iOS and Kindle platforms. ReadItLater is a similar product that is available on Android, in addition to all the platforms that Instapaper is available on.
New kids on the block
The iPad changed a lot of things along with the fortunes of Apple. It offered a completely new way to experience content. It had a large audience which made app developers build tablet-specific apps, especially for content consumption.
I would like to highlight three of the new kids on the block, so to say -- Pulse, Flipboard and Google Currents. While the former two are real new kids on the block, Google Currents is a new Google product that aims to do much of what Pulse and Flipboard do.
These three interactive reading interfaces would not have been possible if it were not for the iPad and other tablets. They make it more interesting to read and digest what could otherwise be plain information bytes. And did I mention, they are a joy to use? All three are free and I strongly suggest that you pick up one for your smartphone/tablet.
Not to be left behind, content producers are adopting all forms of social media to reach as many people as possible. They offer bytes on Facebook and Google+ in addition to beefing up their own online offerings.
Your trusty old newspaper might be facing strong headwinds, but there are new and unique ways by which news is being created and consumed -- reaching a much bigger audience and a whole new generation.