Books Magazine

Spundge — An Exploration of a New Tool

By Joyweesemoll @joyweesemoll

When Google Reader announced it’s own demise, I quit using it. To tell the truth, I quit using it several weeks earlier when my manuscript was going well and everything else in my life was taking second priority. Like Chris of Chrisbookarama wrote in Getting Real About Google Reader, I wondered if I still needed a Feed Reader.

Orange RSS Logo
Google apparently thinks I don’t need one. How do they think people are reading blogs? I suppose the same way that I’ve been doing it since my Google Reader got clogged up with old posts — by clicking through to the blogs of people who comment on my blog or participate in the same memes I do, by clicking on blog post links when I notice them on Twitter and Facebook, and by visiting a blog directly when I happen to think of a blogger just to see what she or he is up to today.

If I don’t need a Feed Reader, does that open up space in my social media toolbox for something else? Chris tweeted about Spundge during Bloggiesta, so I’ve decided to explore that. It can still serve as my Feed Reader: 5 reasons why Spundge should be your Google Reader alternative. But it is also a discovery and curation tool.

Spundge logo

That article includes instructions for transferring feeds, which was easy enough. I suggest cleaning up your feed reader in Google Reader first rather than move over inactive feeds. It’s easier to spot the inactive feeds from Google Reader’s interface than it is in Spundge.

This might be a little meta, but I needed to first understand how other people are using Spundge, so my first task was to create a Notebook (much of the paradigm feels a bit like Evernote) called Spundge Exploration to collect what I found. It turned out that was a good first move, because it plopped me into a tutorial mode, showing me how to pull in content from a variety of feeds.

The Spundge search had the same problem that Google search does with the word — insists on giving results for “sponge” as well. But I put “Spundge” in quotes and that helped a little. One thing I found was a free class on April 10 for learning more: Content Curation and Creation with Spundge: A Digital Tools Tutorial.

That wasn’t entirely satisfying, so I decided to look at the Public Notebooks to see what other Spundge users put in their notebooks about Spundge. I can’t be the only person who likes to start on the meta level. That helped me find some interesting articles about how to use Spundge for discovering and curating content in ways that would be helpful to build a blog post like this one with information from around the internet:

A separate project on how to use Pinterest for marketing took a similar path. I found better results in other people’s notebooks than I did in the stream. In that sense, Spundge felt a bit like Pinterest, although I desperately wanted something like the Repin capability. Instead, I ended up going to the original site and using the Spundge extension from Chrome to put the articles of interest in my own notebook after discovering them through someone else’s notebook.

All interesting, but none of that showed me how I could make Spundge look and act like my old Google Reader account if I wanted it to. It took a little while, but I figured out that in the “firehoses” section on a notebook’s page, I could click a small arrow next to Spundge and have the opportunity to add feed URLs or choose from the feeds I previously brought over from Google Reader. To get started, I added my blog and Chrisbookarama and a few others. Here’s what that looks like: Book Blogs Notebook.

It might be good marketing for book blogs to have a public Book Blogs Notebook on Spundge. If other book bloggers join Spundge, let me know and we can collaborate on that notebook to make it more complete and a place where journalists might discover our collective genius.

Bottom line. If I want a tool for checking up on my favorite blogs every day, I’ll probably use Bloglovin. But I may decide that I can live without a Feed Reader. In either case, I intend to keep playing with Spundge as tool for discovering and organizing web content.

Signature of Joy Weese Moll

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