We live in an age of information overload. The key is to zero in on the signal and tune out the noise. But how?  To stay at the leading edge of your industry, it’s often useful to read as many sector-specific journals, blogs, newsletters and journalists as possible.

However, there are only so many hours in the day, and the time it takes to visit all those sites and sift through them for content can add up fast.  Here’s a quick-and-dirty guide to using the web application Feedly to create a personally curated newsfeed — your own personal magazine.

RSS: Really Simple Syndication

Picture-16If you’ve spent some time on the web, no doubt you’ve seen the RSS icon. What RSS does is provide a stripped-down feed of a site’s content (on site’s where it is enabled). In practical terms, this allows users to collect their favourite online content in a single space, and create their own “magazine.” This process is often called aggregation.

How to set up Feedly to create your magazine

Feedly is essentially a magazine where YOU get to pick the contributors.  If a site provides an RSS feed, you can paste that feed into Feedly and a stream of the site’s content will appear. Here’s where it gets really good: if you want to follow several feeds from several sites, you can add them all.  The result is that you only have to login to one place to get all the latest sites you want to follow. This saves a lot of time! Instead of checking out numerous sites, you can log into one site, customized to your preferences, and get a quick overview of all the latest news.

Here are the steps to get started.

1. You will need a Google account, which is the same as a Gmail account (which is the same as a YouTube account). So, create an account if you don’t have one already.

2. Visit Feedly.com and get started.

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3. Click on an area that interests you. We chose business. Pick a feed. We went with the Atlantic’s business coverage.  Once you click Follow – the green button up top – you’ll be prompted to sign up with Google. Sign in and Accept the Feedly’s authorization request.

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4. On the left sidebar, you can categorize your feeds. If you have several interests, it can be helpful to group them.

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5. Feel free to continue to +Add Content in this way, categorizing as you go.  Before long, you’ll have a great collection of news, delivered right to you, without lifting another finger!

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Taking it to the next level

Here’s a tip for intermediate users. Many blogs and news sites will have the orange RSS icon shown above. In those cases, you can copy and paste the address into Feedly and add your feed. However, there are many sites that generate RSS feeds automatically – blogs, for instance – but don’t advertise them.

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If you use Chrome as your browser, add the RSS subscription extension. Now, any site that provides an RSS feed with have the familiar orange icon in your search bar.

 

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Click the icon to be taken to a screen that looks like this:

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Now, click the feed link highlighted in the screenshot, and repeat the above steps. Copy the address into Feedly and add the feed.

 

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Presto.  The world is your news source.