A few weeks ago I saw on facebook that a college buddy of mine, Ed, shared a blog post he read in Google Reader. That is, he read a blog post someone wrote, via Google Reader and hit the share button on there and because it had been instructed to do so facebook add it to his news feed. I just had to have it. A few minutes later I found out how, and it’s been great.
It’s great for three reasons. First is how it works. Google Reader makes up a web page, that essentially looks like a blog, but it is of the posts that one has read instead of one has written. This page is public, and mine is here (for those of you who want to see what I share but don’t use Google Reader of Facebook. Now, that is pretty nice right there. What facebook does, is subscribe to the rss feed from that page. That means they didn’t have to contact or work with Google directly at all to get this to work. This was initially confusing, because I couldn’t figure out where to go to enable this magic. It turns out that you go to your own profile and click on “settings” below the big share button. They have similar setups for other sites too. Anyways, this is the wonderful kind of thing that open standards can buy!
But why is it so wonderful? Well that’s the second reason. Only like 2 people see what I share on Google Reader, and maybe one third of the time it’s stuff I’ve found because they shared it that I also agree is worth sharing. I also often ran across things that I wanted to share, but not with them; stories I knew they didn’t care about. I occasionally would use the built in email this option to share very cool things with the one person I knew would be interested. There were, however, still many interesting things that I wanted to share, but had no audience for. This little open standards miracle provides an audience. When it is as simple as clicking a button to share something cool with an audience, it drives one to share cool things.
The final reason builds on the second. Because now, I can easily share cool things, I have started reading more blogs. At least part of this is so that I can have more cool stuff to share. The other reason is that I found some other good ones on other strange topics I like, such as strange maps. Anyways, I’m a big fan, but it may mean less “From the Internet” posts on here.