Blogs (short for web logs) started as on-line updates and diaries. Bloggers posted their thoughts and shared them with their friends, posted progress on a new project, or documented the birth and growth of their baby. It didn’t take long before writers and journalists picked up the idea and soon we were reading posts from thought leaders in all kinds of areas as well as product reviews and citizen journalists documenting news from the streets. In 1989 there weren’t many bloggers in China to document what happened in Tiananmen Square, but by 2006 there were over 30 million bloggers in China.

In 2009 when the Iran elections were hotly contested, blogging and micro-blogging were the only way to get the news from the street out to the world. Protesters rallied to many forms of social media to get their message out and be heard. In fact the US government asked Twitter to delay a scheduled update that would interrupt the flow of information through the popular service.

Blogs are interesting, and you don’t even have to blog yourself to get a lot of value from them. You can find blogs on just about any topic. I scan hundreds of blogs each morning looking for ideas to bring to my readers on the various networks, or to share with my clients those that pertain specifically to their businesses. It only takes a few minutes to scan the headlines for titles that catch my eye and decide which ones to explore.

Remember to make the titles of your blog posts keyword rich but intriguing so when they show up in an RSS feed people will want to click on them.

I’ve been collecting blogs for years. At first I created an html page with links to all of them. That was in the days before RSS feeds and each blog had to be visited every day to see what was new. Painful.

RSS feeds came into being and life got a lot easier. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication (It also used to mean Rich Site Summary) and it’s widely used for websites, blogs, bookmarking sites, life-stream aggregators and community sites to distribute information. RSS feeds allow you to get information when a new post is made in the form of the title, a link to the post and a short description of what it’s about. You can get RSS feeds delivered by email, import them onto a page for easy distribution or read them in a reader where you can add feeds that catch your fancy, scan the titles and read the posts right in your reader.

There are a lot of options to read your RSS feeds, but once you get a lot of feeds to read you need to find a tool you’re comfortable with that let’s you manage your feeds. Google Reader is a popular feed reader and you can add new feeds easily right from your web browser.

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