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Google Reader Privacy Settings for Online Hermits and RSS Exhibitionists

You're amped. You've whittled your Google Reader account into perfectly organized folders and categories, and you're cruising the Web at warp speed, sharing links left and right. But you suddenly realize that you aren't quite sure if you want your future employer and/or offspring to see that you are a huge fan of cat sweaters. Maybe you have been bit by the bug of oversharing?

Yesterday, we taught you to create a "Reader" list with all of your preferred follow-ees, where you can craft and edit your contact list to allow sharing between certain people. To see exactly who is following you and who you are following, head to and browse. (To see what you're sharing, try Remember: if you set it up using your contacts list, those people can see your shared links. (For more general Google control, you'll have to head to Managing Google privacy settings is a well-noted nightmare.)

But why does everything now have to have a social component? What if you just want to read your daily news without anyone poking a nose in or "liking" the stuff you see? Or, contrarily, what if you have nothing to hide, and you'd like all of your Reader travels exposed on Facebook, Twitter and more?

Privacy Lockdown

Google Reader Privacy Settings
Locking down your info Google-wide is a nightmare. Taking control of Reader, however, is rather simple. Log into your Reader account, and head to Settings by jumping to Go to the 'Folders and Tags' tab, select 'All [x-amount] of tags,' and then hit 'Private' from the 'Change sharing...' drop-down menu. All of your folders are now invisible to prying eyes. To make sure your privacy settings are more airtight than 'The Hunt for Red October,' just click the link on the left-hand side of the page that reads, 'Shared items can be configured on the sharing settings page.' At the resulting page, make sure that no boxes are selected under 'Choose some people to share with....' From the drop-down bar next to 'Your shared items are,' select 'Protected.' And, there you go; you do not exist, as far as anyone on Google Reader is concerned.

Be An Open Book!

open If, for some reason, you love the idea of promoting and sharing the Reader RSS posts that you adore, head right on back to your Reader home, and hit 'Settings' in the upper-left corner. Follow the same instructions as above, but, after you check all of your boxes, hit 'Public' in the drop-down bar. (Duh.) For your pals that aren't on Reader, your newly public shared items can be viewed at

Now, this is where you get meta. The items you share have now created their own RSS feed. (It's like 'Inception!' Just go deeper!) You can use this RSS feed wherever you'd like; put it in Facebook, link it to Twitter, or even follow yourself. (The cycle is endless.) We'll talk more about integration later, but, for the time being, it's important to know that you've created an RSS of the stuff you like.

More Google Reader Tips

Tags: Google Privacy, google reader, GooglePrivacy, GoogleReader, rss, rss feeds, rss reader, rss-feed, rss-reader, RssFeeds, RssReader, techtip, techtips, top