Lunchtime Links: RIP Google Reader, 2005-2013

The sounds you hear are the cries of woe around the association blog community as a key tool for reading RSS feeds faces sunset. Also: Reconsider your communication approach when reaching out.

The news dropped like a bomb last night.

Somehow, despite the fact that there was major news going on Wednesday, the only thing a lot of people seemed to care about on social media was the loss of Google Reader.

That’s because, as anyone knows from using RSS, you build an emotional attachment to your feeds. That and more in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Google Reader’s sunset: Sure, it was an old workhorse and its shutdown wasn’t a massive surprise, but Google’s longtime Reader app was nonetheless heavily used by the association community as a way to keep up with the industry’s leading voices. One noted association personality, Maddie Grant, nailed the collective opinion of thousands of newshounds when she wrote on SocialFish, “I’m not gonna lie, this makes me want to cry.” Alas, this wasn’t a huge surprise. Back in October, I wrote a blog post noting that Google’s lamented RSS services, FeedBurner, was facing a similar death-by-neglect. Fortunately, there are alternatives out there, such as The Old Reader. I’ll have more on this issue next week.

A new approach makes all the difference: Just because you’ve been doing something one way for a good long while doesn’t necessarily mean that there isn’t room for freshening up the approach. Kivi Leroux Miller shows how one nonprofit, the Barth Syndrome Foundation, rejiggered its letter to donors to take a more personal approach and showed the face of a person affected by the disease. “You should notice a difference immediately,” she explains. “Instead of just random ‘families and individuals affected by Barth syndrome,’ you see Christopher who is only 4 years old. Narrowing it down to Christopher puts a face to the problem, and that has a greater impact on the reader.” How can you improve your own communications to better communicate to your audience?

Protect your personal brand: Having a personal brand is great, but if you aren’t careful, business developments beyond your control can have the effect of diminishing it, according to Karen Kang, the CEO of BrandingPays. In an interview with Forbes contributor Emily Jasper, she put it like this: “When you’re developing a personal brand separate from your company’s branding, stake out an area for yourself. Be known for your own thought leadership. Be bold and not just a ‘me too.’ In this day and age, being a ‘me too’ is death.” How are you working to build a brand that works with your association’s brand, while being its own separate entity?

What’s on your reading radar today, and have you spotted a good Google Reader alternative yet? Tell us about it below.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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