Using Google Reader and Twitter Search to Listen

Old Radio

Since I began subscribing to RSS feeds, Google Reader has been my organizational tool of choice. I have also used Safari and Mail and follow some feeds with iGoogle, but as the volume of blogs began to grow I settled on Reader.

At first, I used it as a blog bucket but soon I needed to get organized and dug in a little deeper. The interface seemed a bit stark until I got under the hood and began to explore the ‘Manage Subscriptions’ option. Google Reader allows you to create multiple folders to organize your feeds. I follow a diverse range of blogs and Twitter searches so this has been really helpful. You can create folders on the Manage Subscriptions page or while viewing an individual blog summary. The ‘Feed Setting’ drop-down menu allows you to assign a specific blog to existing folders or add a new one. Reader Play provides a slideshow view of blog abstracts (by feed or folder) and allows you to easily ‘star’ favorite items.

Using Twitter Search feeds…

One powerful, free, online listening tool that is often overlooked is the advanced search page available at: With Twitter Search you can drill down and discover what people are talking about based on multiple keywords, location, date, etc. When you develop searches that are useful, subscribe to the RSS feeds with Google Reader just like a blog.

Why should I care?

Following and organizing blogs and online searches is a very powerful method for discovering new content, participating in online conversations, staying in touch with your customers and fans, researching your industry, and finding new sources to follow. The obvious thing to do is search on your company or industry keywords, but with a little experimentation you will soon discover a vast world of possibilities.

How do you get the most out of Google Reader and Twitter Search?

‘Old Radio’ photo courtesy of Garry Knight

Building a personal music brand with blogs and RSS…

Blogging is an indispensable tool for building a personal brand online. RSS feeds provide a slick way to manage blogs and stay on top of your online community. Here are a few things musicians may find useful:

  • If you are using a Mac, as many musicians are, you can add a folder to your Bookmark Bar for your favorite music related blogs. When viewing a site in Safari, click the RSS button in the URL address field. The page will change into a list of all blog posts for this site. The view can be customized with the tools in the right sidebar. Add a bookmark to the folder you have created for this page. When new posts are added, a number indicating new posts will appear to the right of your bookmark (as well as the Bookmark Bar folder). You can do the same thing with any RSS reader, but this is particularly easy with Safari.
  • Review your favorite blogs each day and add comments to posts you are interested in. Be sure to direct folks back to your blog or website to keep the connection and conversation going. This is a simple, effective way to stay connected with like-minded musicians and industry bloggers.
  • You can use RSS feeds to deliver customized content in any number of other ways as well. For example, if you are looking for a job, you can create a custom search at (or any number of other sites), view as RSS and bookmark. This is much more efficient and manageable than sorting through piles of daily email notifications.
  • Make sure that your website and blog are set up for RSS so that your community can follow you and easily engage in the conversation.
  • If you visit topical websites that are not RSS enabled (for example, local live music listings wherever you may be), let the site owners know that you want to subscribe to an RSS feed.

RSS is a powerful tool that will help you to keep your blog current and communicate with your community, whether you are at home, on a laptop somewhere, or using a mobile device.

Just remember, always be authentic in your communication. Before you hit the ‘post’ button ask yourself if you really have something to say that is adding value and coming from a deeper personal place.