RSS Readers (including Google Reader)
OVERALL - RSS Readers,blog readers, news readers, feed readers also known as Aggregators. This is a software application that allows you to read large numbers of online sources all in one place. RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" a method of allowing people to subscribe to blogs or other online services.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? I spend a fair amount of time online reading. News stories, resources, web sites, blogs and more. The problem is that trying to keep up with all these things can chew up even more of your day. A reader can help you stay on top of online stuff with very little effort. The reader checks for you and only will notify you when the site has updated/posted new info. For example you want to keep track of what that rascally diocesan youth missioner is up to these days. If you look at the top of the right hand column here you'll see the words "Subscribe To". If you click on the little arrow next to the word "Posts" you'll get a list of several quick services to subscribe. The one I use is the Google Reader, a free service included if you have a Gmail account. It only takes a couple minutes to get yours set up. If you use My Yahoo as a home page (I do that too but don't use it for my RSS reading) you can click on the My Yahoo tab and have it show up on your home page. There are lots and I mean LOTS of other readers out there. I know that NewsGator is very highly thought of for example. It all depends on how computer geeky you may be. Google Reader or Yahoo are extremely simple.
RESERVATIONS It's easy to get buried by blogs and news feeds once you have a reader. My standard is that if I don't see an update on a regular basis (at least 3 a month) I will weed the blog out. On the other hand I sometimes discover blog I've subscribed to just doesn't have a lot of info I'm really want to see. So I dump it. Used well a reader makes your online time more efficient. Not used well and it's just another time waster.
RECOMMENDATION Using Google Reader has made my life MUCH more efficient and I almost never miss important posts or news any more. If you don't spend a lot of time online you probably don't need one of these. For the rest of us I strongly recommend you grab a reader app. Many of them can be connected to other services (like you cell phone)