How I replaced Google Reader with a twitter list and hootsuite

I used to love Google Reader. It was a wonderful tool that brought all my favorite blogs together in one place and made them easy to read and share. It was great…until it wasn’t. It soon become one more inbox that I couldn’t keep empty. My unread items soon numbered in the thousands and then the tens of thousands. I felt guilty every time I logged in.

It seemed like the right thing to do. Find a good blogger and subscribe to their feed. Right?

But let’s face it, there are very few bloggers who put out a great post every time.

I’ve found a better way. I very seldom miss important posts and I read lots of posts that would never have shown up in my RSS reader. Here’s how I do it. I let other people that I trust and respect put my reading list together (and they don’t even realize they’re doing it).

All you need is a twitter list and hootsuite.

  1. Create a twitter list of the people who matter in your space (or just use mine).
  2. Open that list as a column in hootsuite and filter it for the keyword “http”.

That’s it. Now you’ve got a list of links your sources deemed important enough to tweet about today.

Give it a try. You’ll be surprised at the variety of content this surfaces. And if there’s any bloggers you want to make sure you read add them to your list. If they write a good post they’ll probably tweet about it.

How are you choosing what to read every day?


17 thoughts on “How I replaced Google Reader with a twitter list and hootsuite

  1. Clay,
    I remember that time well.  Enjoy it while you can :-).
    As long as you keep the number of blogs in reader low its going to work fine for you.  I found that when the number of feeds I had subscribed to exceeded 50 (and some of those were very active blogs) was when it started becoming overwhelming.

  2. Thanks Mark. If I was really smart I’d build an app that took the URLs in the list and looked for the ones with the most RTs and highlighted those for me.

  3. I have been using twitter like this for a while but have not organized like you have. Great stuff and great idea. I use hootsuite as well and am going to take some time to do this so that I can get rid of my goo reader.
    Good stuff

  4. Hey Jon, I’ve been saying for some time that Twitter is becoming the new RSS reader. This idea is a creative way to take that to the next level.
    But my question is, how is this an improvement over Google Reader? If a person has a tendency to subscribe to more RSS feeds than they can read, won’t they run into the same problem with Twitter/Hootsuite?

  5. Love the idea. I still use Google Reader but many times use the view where you just see the titles and I choose what to read by what titles interest me. I use choose what I read by what others are posting on FB or Twitter.

  6. Hey Paul, 
    Thanks for reading and commenting.  
    I dont have the problem youre describing because at any given time I can just grab the most recent links.  Theres no getting behind. I just jump in and out of this stack whenever I want to.  

  7. Jon: I principle it sounds great but there are several serious drawbacks to this.
    First of all, I have to say that i’m a hardcore gReader, Twitter AND Hootsuite user.
    I’ve got over 200 subscriptions in GR and still going strong and I’ve followed and contributed to this Twitter vs Facebook debate for a while, just so you know where I’m coming from.
    I’ve got Facebook notifications, Twitter searches, custom notifications and a few other things here. Can’t duplicate that with Twitter.
    Folders, tags and searches to organize, archive and search what you need or want to read? Can’t do that on Twitter.
    Email, comment on shared items or send to other services. Not on Twitter.
    Note that I still use Twitter heavily, it’s just that for practical purposes Twitter still falls short in functionality. I read somewhere something that for me defines this situation:
    Twitter is for breaking news, gReader is where the news is found, absorbed, and digested. Both are great and both work very well in their own way, but I do not agree that one can replace the other. It depends on what you need and want from each.
    Having said this, I LOVED your solution and will be using it to complement my GReader 🙂
    Regards from Mexico City

  8. Hey Jon! Thanks for the tip. I had a quick question. What would be the best way to go about find blogs and people to follow that are experts in a certain domain. For example, if I get a job in “product development” and want to stay up to date in that area what would be the best way to get the info I need? Thanks, Eli

  9. Eli,
    If you use the system Im suggesting here then you just need to find twitter users who are in your space.  Id especially look for twitter users who have created lists for the industry that youre interested in.  Also, Mashable has created a list of lists that may be helpful:
    Hope that helps,

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