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LOLCats Don't Share Themselves! Google Reader Tips to Spread Link Love

Google Reader
Yesterday, we showed you how to use Google Reader to get organized, put together folders and take advantage of feed recommendations. So you think you've finally got RSS all figured out, right? Well, don't get too cocky, kid, because today we're going to explode your Google Reader world. Since you're now up to date on world news and breaking LOLcats news, you're going to want to show your legions of friends, followers and colleagues all of the incredible links that you find first.

Create Your Community

Reader People You FollowOn Reader's left rail, you'll see a heading that reads, 'People You Follow.' This means that these fine folks will let you peek at Reader items they like, and will often add comments. However, when you're sharing your favorite papercraft Mario links, remember that anything you share can only be seen in the Google ecosystem. That means your friends on Yahoo! and Hotmail won't get to see your witticisms next to the latest political scandal or your favorite hungover owl unless they are following you with a Google product.

(Note: This is also a great time to get your contacts in order and create some groups, but that is a larger discussion for another time.)

For the time being, head over to 'People You Follow,' and then hit 'Sharing settings.' This rather straightforward page lets you choose the groups with which you'd like to share your amazing Reader finds. If you've got your shared items set to public, anyone with a Gmail account will be able to view and comment on them. Those items will also be shared on your Google profile. If you want to limit who's receiving your notes, you can select individual groups, which you'll need to set up and manage in Google Contacts. It's not the most integrated process (since you'll have to jump around to several Google products to get everything set up), but it lets you make sure the proper people are seeing (or not seeing) your picks.

Picking Your Minions

reader friends
Perhaps you want only a certain group to read your Reader faves. You can quickly filter that group by heading to Gmail's Contacts section or Google Contacts and searching for all addresses with '' Once you find all of your pals that use the service, click on the New Group button, and create a new group called 'Reader Friends.' Handpick those with whom you'd like to share your Reader bits by scrolling down and "checking" the people you'd want. Then, select the Groups button and add them to the 'Reader Friends' group. Head back to Google Reader, select 'People You Follow,' then 'Sharing Settings,' and finally set your shared items to be available to your new 'Reader Friends' group. The genius part of the Google ecosystem is that your Google groups sync across Reader, Gmail and Buzz. The downside, of course, is that your Reader faves can't be shared with anyone (unless you make your Google Shared Items public, but we'll touch on that tomorrow).

Now you can head to back to your Reader home to view your built-in contacts. By clicking 'People You Follow,' Google will automatically search your contacts for pals that may already use Reader, or have access to it (simply by having a Gmail account). Opt to follow whoever you want, or scroll down to 'Find More People' and enter keywords for location, interest or occupation ("photography" + "new york," for instance). Remember to frequently check up on your 'People You Follow.'

What to Share? What to SHARE!?

Google Reader Sharing
Gosh, there is a whole wide Internet world out there, and sharing awesome links with your crew is truly the reason the Web was created. Reader provides two mindlessly simple ways to spread the link love. First, while you're browsing the super-selective RSS feed folders that we built yesterday, you can scroll to the bottom of the entry and click 'Share' or 'Share with a note.' Add your note, should you choose, and post your item, exposing the world to your love of cat sweaters. Speed things up by tapping shift + s to share, or shift + d to share with a note.

The other option? By adding a simple bookmarklet to your browser bar, it's a cinch to share pages when you are meandering through the Web. Click on 'Settings' in the upper right-hand corner, select 'Reader settings,' and then navigate to 'Goodies.' The first offering says 'Note In Reader.' By clicking and then dragging that link into your bookmark bar whenever you see a page you'd want to share, you have instant access to your Reader. Say you are reading (as you frequently do!), and you see a story you must share. Click the 'Note in Reader' tab that now lives snugly in your browser bar, and, bam, there it is. You can add your comment (or not), and post your item all at once. Your followers won't be able to thank you enough.

More Google Reader Tips

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