Keeping Up with the Flow: Why Feedly Changes the Game


CHARLOTTE, NC. March 2013, by

As you may know, I’ve been exploring the flow of insights across organizations for years. It’s at the core of effective collaboration. As I’ve shared at conferencesblogs and now in softcover, more often than not, that critical flow of insight is blocked.

On the Web we have the opposite problem. Here we have the freedom to read and write any content we like. Insights can flow rapidly. But in terms of content like blog posts, it can be incredibly difficult to keep track of it all. The deluge of insight overflows the levies of our day to day attention spans.

There is  too much content, and it never stops coming.

Haw River, NC - feedly in the flow of insights

Haw River, NC – feedly in the flow (of insights)

Feedly changes the game because it recognizes the problem. It knows our time is limited. So it helps us move past the okay stuff so we can get to the good stuff. And if all the content is good? Feedly lets us quickly get to the next level, identifying the good stuff that’s most relevant. To me, that’s a game changer. Here are the Feedly features that made me sit up and take notice:

  • Rapid and seamless integration with Google Reader. Since I was already signed-in to chrome and G+, I simply had to tell Feedly to sync with Reader and it happened in a matter of minutes.
  • Rapid update of feeds. Quickly add or drop the content you want to receive. All you need is the blog URL.
  • While mobile, a “swipe” browses and/or marks posts as read. Beautifully mirroring the turn of a magazine page, we can scan headlines, drill down to read an article, or move on .. quickly.
  • Dynamic categories (for tracking relevance). This is where power surfing begins to leave paper magazines behind. With tools like Feedly we can bookmark and tag on the fly, helping us connect new ideas with our own, using categories to index what’s important to us, even as what’s important evolves.
  • Save for later. Let’s us flag posts that need another read, a share on Twitter or G+, or a response.
  • Multiple-device sync. Feedly on the browser and mobile work together.
  • Valuable content: anytime, anywhere (aka, another “win” for mobility). Where once our idle moments (elevators, subways, concert lines) were venues for checking Facebook or our Twitter feed, now we can read deep and important content on the go as well, all of it real time.

In a world where everyone pushes content, it’s time to focus on context, finding and adopting more powerful tools (like Feedly) for tracking what’s important. Who decides what’s important? Look in the mirror. With these tools in hand, it’s easier to filter and to focus, connecting related ideas with our own, unlocking opportunties for more engagement which can ultimately lead to new thinking.

For anyone that takes learning and the learning organization seriously, that’s a huge step forward. The critical feedback loop can now be closed.

Insights flow "like leaves on a river" - David Bohm

Insights flow “like leaves on a river” – David Bohm

Organizations will continue to grapple with their collaborative barriers. Often they must settle for little more than a trickle of insight. Meantime, out in the open spaces, we’re getting better at flood control.

Props to Mack Collier and crew for the Feedly tip at #blogchat.

So go ahead, blogosphere. Let the insights flow. Now, at long last, I’m ready for you.

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4 thoughts on “Keeping Up with the Flow: Why Feedly Changes the Game

  1. Pingback: The Five Worst Copywriting Mistakes on the Web | Search Engine Optimization

  2. I’ve dabbled with Feedly before, but I always came back to Google Reader because of its simplicity. Now of course time is running out and I’ll have to decide which tool I’ll use in the future.

    Feedly has a nice design. It feels like a custom newspaper designed just for me and it seems to use some algorithm to push the most interesting stuff to the top. But I don’t always trust that what it chooses will be the most interesting to me.

    I’m also subscribed to hundreds of feeds which I currently have organized into topic folders such as Marketing, Social Media, Web, Culture and Society, Clients, etc. Feedly’s layout makes it harder to do a quick browse of all of the posts in my folders.

    Thus comes Netvibes. To get started with Netvibes you export your OPML file from Reader and import it to Netvibes. In reader view the layout is quite similar to Google Reader. I can click on a folder/tab/category (each service seems to use diff terms) and I can see all the headlines in date order. I can also easily add new feeds. Sorting the feeds via drag and drop is a bit clunky, but I’ll get used to it. The most annoying thing about Netvibes happens when you create a new Tab – It then auto populates it with feeds it thinks are relevant. So I have to delete those before adding what I want.

    Bottom line: I’m finding pro’s and con’s for each, so I’ve yet to decide. I think which service people prefer will really depend on their specific needs. But I’ll be missing Reader!

    • I’m far from an expert on on the feedly tool or their algorithms, but my impression is that feedly brings back every post from the streams I’ve subscribed to. It’s up to me to swipe past them, or “save for later” the ones I think are most relevant.

      So I don’t think they decide what to send me .. but I could be wrong, and it’s a great question ..

      Edwin tweets for @feedly, lets inquire w/ him ..

      Thanks as always for the feedback Heidi .. great to be connected again, it’s been too long!

      Chris

  3. Hi Heidi,
    This is Edwin, I am one of the co-founders of feedly. I would like to answer your question about filtering.

    Note: we have made a lot of changes to feedly over the last 4 weeks based on user feedback so my first recommendation would be to re-install feedly from http://www.feedly.com/index.html to make sure that you have the latest version.

    Regarding filtering, we try to give users the control. Some users like to have a featured section at the top of the list where they see what is popular. Some don’t. There are three knobs you can use to turn off recommendations:
    Knob #1: select the title only view
    Knob #2: go to preferences and turn off featured articles
    Knob #3: go to preferences and set your default page to all instead of today.

    If that is not enough to adapt feedly do you reading style and workflow, please email me at edwin@feedly.com with suggestions on what else you would like to see implemented.
    Best,
    Edwin

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