Media: RSS Will Make You Smarter/Faster/Stronger
But it's still a good occasion to learn a tiny bit about the underlying magic behind Google Reader -- called RSS -- and consider whether you're getting as much of the Internet as easily as you could be.
A surprising number of folks -- including those who write online regularly -- don't know about RSS and are working harder than they need to (and failing to provide readers with as much quality content as they could).
Basically, RSS readers like Google Reader allow you to subscribe (follow) any site, Twitter feed, or term you want to follow, and be sure to get everything new posted about that site, Twitter feed, or term whether or not you check regularly.
It's not perfect, and the bare-bones versions aren't pretty. But it allows you to speed read the Internet, skimming headlines and excerpts without leaving the browser window you've already got open. And -- did I say this already? -- you won't miss things if you skip a day or two or three.
Google Reader is just one of several bits of software that do much the same thing -- perhaps not even the best. I use it currently, but before that used two other similar programs. There are bunches of lists of alternatives out there, including cloud-based ones and desktop based ones.
In a perfect world, there would be a cloud-based RSS reader that synchronized between devices and also updated itself regularly so that you could use it offline/on the subway -- like Pocket, more skimmy.