Now, you may have read that last paragraph and thought, "What the heck kind of language is she speaking?!" If that was you, I have some help coming your way.
I usually hesitate to blog about blogging because, even though I've been doing this for a couple of years now, I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, consider myself a blogging expert. I leave that to the experts.
In fact, I'm afraid to give any blogging advice on my blog EVER because I'm so paranoid that someone (um, hello? Blog police?) might read it and tell me I'm doing it all wrong.
(And if Sitemeter is the Blog Police I deserve a ticket for sure.)
Nevertheless, my friend, H, has asked me oh-so-politely in several different ways if I would please explain to her how to "follow" me. And so I shall. Just for you, H. In language only you and I will understand.
See, if you're like me and you like to read blogs, you probably want to read more than one. In fact, if you're like me, you might have, oh, 75 or so blogs that you follow. There are a couple of easy ways to get all of your blogs at once. It's called a feed reader (or feeder, or something like that). The one I use is Google Reader. All you have to do is go to google.com/reader and it will tell you all you need to know about following blogs and getting your reader set up.
Once you customize the page with your blogs, every time you open it up it will list all the new blog posts that you haven't read. The posts will be in order from the newest to the oldest, and they will include the full text of the post including pictures. So, basically, you can read the post and then scroll down and read the next one.
And so on. And so on. And so on.
Once you've read through the list, just click "Mark all as read" and they will disappear. Until someone else posts and then you're back in business reading again.
What if you find a blog you really like that you want to follow? There are two ways (that I know of) to get the blog into your reader. First, look for a "follow" button somewhere at the top of the page. Just click on that and you're good to go. Otherwise, copy the URL of that blog, then go to your reader and click on the button that says "Add Subscription" and paste the URL of that blog there. Just make sure it's the URL of the blog's home page, and not the specific permalink to the post, otherwise it'll be Groundhog Day at your house and you'll get the same post popping up over and over and over again.
There's one thing about a reader that is a problem for me--you can't comment from it. And, to me, blogging is all about the community, and comments are a lifeline to so many of us. So leaving a comment is critical.
Especially on my blog. *ahem*
Anyway, say you're reading along in Google Reader and you read a post that makes you want to leave a comment. All you have to do is click on the title of the post (it's highlighted), and the "real" post will pop up in a new window. From there you can scroll to the bottom of the post and leave your comment.
Please get in the habit of doing this. Most bloggers blog because we're loudmouths and feel like we have something to say, but we hate to be shouting in the dark. We really do love feedback and conversation (you'll notice that I sometimes comment in my own comment secion--that's called a conversation. Feel free to join in!)--in fact, we thrive on it. So, even though it's one extra click, maybe two, please get in the habit of leaving comments. Even occasionally.
So, H, that's what I know about "following." I sure hope it has encouraged you to set up your own Reader. There are so many great blogs out there that you will surely want to follow more than one. (As long as I'm the first one you put into your reader!)
And if that wasn't enough information, here's a little blurb, written in a lot fewer words than I just used, from the "experts" themselves to help you.
Now go. Get that reader set up. And happy reading!
So tell me, which blogs do you follow? Which are your favorites? I'd really like to know.