I have not had what I would describe as an easy time wrapping my brain around a few things. All of this blogging business was new to me, but not nearly as tricky as getting my RSS feeds "successfully" dealt with. I had some issues. I did learn how to add individual RSS feeds to my blog, but I hadn't figured out how to add a "blogroll" through an aggregator. This required some investigation, and a lot of trial and error. But I think I have finally connected a few more of the dots. Some credit must be given to my classmate, Elisa, who shed some light on Google reader in one of our class discussions.
I had not started out using Google Reader, but instead, Bloglines. Perhaps I was not patient enough, or perhaps everything still seemed a bit foreign to me, but I did not have any luck getting a blogroll set up using Bloglines. I clicked around aimlessly on Bloglines without getting a sense of totally understanding what I could do with it.
Yet I still added RSS feeds to my blog. I clicked on "add a page element" under the Template option. I then selected the "Feed" option, and cut and pasted the URLs of the blogs I had pre-selected earlier. I had to repeat the process over five times, once I had finally figured this much out. It took a while, and I knew that there had to be an easier method, but I just didn't know what it was! I was somewhat frustrated.
Then, Elisa supplied me with some inspiration to take a look at a second blog aggregator: Google Reader. I signed up, and got started. The critcal concept I was searching for finally made sense. I was able to "add a blogroll" to my site! I now understand the HUGE difference in what I set up earlier, and what an aggregator provides.
Sure, in my first attempt, I had RSS feeds coming to my blog, but each was "individually packaged." I would have to click on each one, read the latest article, then go back to start the process of looking at the next blog and its latest article. Not terribly slow, but it could be better. With my blogroll set up, all I have to do is click "Read More" and I have all my blogs right there, with the latest articles all at the top of the page. I had no idea what a blogroll would actually look like until I figured this out today.
It may seem like small potatoes to most people, but it was a major breakthrough for me today. It's a huge relief, because I knew there was more to it... even though I didn't know what, exactly.