I put this invitation out there on my RSS post to explore Google Reader sharing with me and, by gum, someone took the bait! Thanks, Rhonda!

Of course, this meant that I’d actually have to figure out how. Well, like all things Google, there is not the way, there are the ways. So here’s the breakdown:

  1. Friends via Google Brand – people who have Google Talk or Gmail Chat and have Google Reader accounts are automatically subscribed to your shared items. There’s even a handy little link in the main Google Reader menu for “Friend’s Shared Items.” As one would expect, Google brand products communicate very nicely with each other. My fella is auto-subscribed to my Google Reader which is nice for him because I share all of the Linux tips I find. Verdict: This is the way for Google Brand junkies who have or would be willing to enable the chat function for each other.
  2. A direct link – lucky for everyone, Google is not vicious and they’ve provided many other ways, like a link to your shared items. It’s right there when you click on “Shared Items” in Reader, as are the rest of these options. It’s nice because it sends the user to a page formatted nicely for the viewing public. Verdict: this is the way for people who do not have or want feed readers but do a bit of bookmark/favorites checking.
  3. A feed – better yet, if all parties have feed readers, you can give that to folks and they can set you up in their reader. The feed is available from your link page. Verdict: this is the way for folks who have feed readers, even Google Readers, but are not your chattin’ buddies.
  4. Email – you can email your list directly to folks who do not really keep favorites/bookmarks or have readers. Google is smart; it only send a short message and the link to your shared page, and also the feed, which would be a good way to get the feed to friends without too much hassle. Verdict: this is the way for folks who aren’t really tethered to the internet but check email. Also a convenient way to get the feed to your reader folks.
  5. Put it in your Blog – you can insert a clip of your shared items into your blog. Let’s try it out, shall we…hmmm, no luck. Reader does specify that the script they give you to cut and paste needs to be added to a javascript enabled blah, blah, blah. I’ll figure this one out later. If you’re a Blogger user, this is super easy because you just click a button that says “Add to Blogger,” which I would imagine works something like blogging from Flickr. Verdict: Awesome for Blogger users, may also be nice for snappier folks who can figure out how to get into other blogs!

Thanks, Google, for a plethora of ways to share stuff. Rhonda, I’d say our best bet is to try option 3, and anyone else who wants to give it a go. Here’s the feed to my shared items (right click, copy link location, and paste into the area where you add subscriptions).

Feed

Feel free to delete it when your done playing if you have no interest in the following topics:

  1. Linux
  2. Google and Mozilla extensions
  3. Weird practical tips, like keeping onions in pantyhose
  4. Open source software
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First off, I am surprised and delighted at how many people are participating in this program. I have had to create a new folder in Google Reader to handle all the 23 Things traffic. Awesome.

Secondly, next week we get into RSS and the like, which is where my beloved Google Reader fits in. It’s an inbox for my blogs, for those of you unfamiliar (for now) with feed readers. New posts show up as unread, and I read as I get the time and never forget to visit one. For those of you who are already beginning to feel like there are too many blogs to visit and you’re losing your grip on how to manage the time and energy, this will make you sigh and relax. I read on a few folks blogs that they were nervous about RSS. It’s a beautiful thing that will simplify your life in untold ways. Promise.

Third, I just cataloged a bunch of beginner Linux and Web Design books for my library. I insisted that we buy them even though we do not have anything even loosely approximating technology courses of study here. My argument for them was largely based on the fact that web design is fun once you get a handle on it. Also, as a low-res school, we really need to promote these tools because most of the business these students do with the school is conducted online. Email is not really a proper place for a 75 page packet with photos. This kind of thing crashes servers and whatnot. Since this 23 things program started up and soooo many people hoped on board, I feel even better about these purchases. It proves that, as Costner would say, if you build it they will come. Most of these books are already checked out…even the Ubuntu book, and checked out by an unlikely suspect!

Lastly, I have rolled into another fatalistic mood about our ILS. Seriously, I hate it. I have put in 5 trouble tickets to their IT department already this week (we upgraded last week, which always, ALWAYS causes problems). I would never say that they aren’t trying their hardest or that their system isn’t right for some other institution, but when I start pitching to totally replace the system (as the Systems Librarian, evidently I can do that!), I keep 2 things in mind:

  1. Use the right tool for the job – this system is designed for a closed-stack library with on-campus patrons. We are an open-stack library with off-campus patrons. What with there being so many hybrids of the two systems, and so many low-res/distance only colleges now, surely there is a more appropriate tool for us.
  2. I wouldn’t torch my paycheck – we pay them too much money to have this many issues. If this were a new car, we would have called Lemon Law by now! I am a budget minded person, and my paycheck has to cover a lot of ground. Whenever I think I can save money and receive at least the same level of service I am used to, I do it. So why don’t we do this in our libraries? We constantly let these people torch our budgets.

And there it is. The big problem with number 2, of course, is finding the time to research all the options. I get accused of being tech savvy all the time, but it’s relative. To someone who has never had a cell phone or email account, I probably am. To computer programers and network administrators, whose language this stuff is written in, I am cute because I try so hard but I only half know what I’m talking about. But, I learn the language more every day. And I have people all around me who can explain terms and ideas to me if I simply ask.

I guess the point of that long ramble is choose the tools that work best for you, get your money’s worth, and use all the people who know better for your collective education. Gee, that sounds easy, I don’t know what I’m so worried about.

ps-that last bit was sarcasm, I was making a face, but you can’t see it ;)