Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thoughts on Wordpress Reader

As most of you know, in my virtual life (i.e. this blog), I've recently made a move from Blogspot to Wordpress.  Of that I would say so far so good.  It's kind of like a new apartment where you're still unpacking and don't quite know where everything is, but the water and electricity are on and you've got a roll of toilet paper on the spindle. You're making it work for the moment, and starting to see where the Ikea furniture might fit when it arrive.  That's where I am with that.
I've also mentioned the other big transition I'm making away from Google--not as voluntarily.  Google Reader is retiring this summer, and so I've started "apartment shopping" for a new way to organize and read my blogs and newsfeeds.
Upon setting up my Wordpress account, I saw the word "Reader" on the menu bar and got excited. One stop shopping! Could it be so easy? Sadly, after giving Wordpress Reader the college try, I have to say no.
The migration from Google was easy--so that's a positive, but after that, for me, the negatives are many. First, there is no menu listing subscriptions on the front page, and the posts are not organized by feed, but chronologically, with the most recent at the top--so basically what you have is a Facebook newsfeed comprised of the publications you have elected to follow.  Right now the top story on my Reader is an article from from 1hour and 6 minutes ago. Below that is a story from Variety from 1 hour and 13 minutes ago. If I'm not in the mood for industry gossip and want to catch up on a feed about climate change or the blog of a personal friend, there doesn't seem to be any way of doing that except to scroll down and hope to see a post from that source (that being said, once I have done that, I can click on the source name to see more recent posts from that source).
But for awhile I thought that, although I don't love the interface--it might be good for me.  Because truthfully I will OFTEN avoid industry news, and I'm IN the industry.  I SHOULD know what pilots are being picked up and what Adam Sandler is doing next.  So, while Google Reader enabled me to wait until I had a back log of 300 Hollywood Reporter stories and eventually just "mark all read" without really reading, the Wordpress Reader makes me expose myself to at least the headlines...but that brings me to the next negative:
If I click on the above the line story, the rest of the story opens IN THE SAME WINDOW--i.e. if I want to read 35 (or 350)  more words, I have to LEAVE WORDPRESS to do it.  This seems so counter-intuitive that I have to believe there's some setting that I just can't find to change this.   Do I really  have to click away, read three sentences, and click back, waiting for Wordpress to reload? (EDIT: Since the original version of this post,  research has revealed that--no, I do not!  If I click on "read more," it opens in the same window, but if I click on the headline, it opens in a new tab.  So--yay for that!)
But it was worth a try I guess.  Next stop--the aggregator whose name comes up again and again as the Google Reader heir,  I'll let you know how it goes!

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