Friday Reads: Google Reader’s Death and Annotated Prose Poems

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Today, I’ve got two articles to discuss and some links from earlier in the week. I’m mixing up things I’ve found related to digital marginalia and an article about the death of Google Reader.

A lot of journalists and writers are sad to see Google pull the plug on Reader, their RSS program that makes it simple to track publications. I use it every day to find interesting things to read. I’ve written about how I use Google Reader with IFTTT and Evernote to save articles I find online.

What will this mean for content curators, journalists, and authors who use RSS to keep track of trends? There are alternatives. I’ve already started using Feedly for my RSS feeds which works like Google Reader. Visually, it is very different, but there are ways to make it look and act like Google Reader. (Plus, you have until July before Google Reader shuts down, so play around with the options.)

This article from the site Dear Author explains why Google may have killed Reader (“Google Reader is Dead. Long Live Feedly?”). The author explains that Google could never monetize RSS. But by shutting it down, they alienate a core group of Google power users who will lose trust in the company:

The danger of Google shutting down its various free services is that people will begin to doubt the longevity of its other products. Sure, search or Youtube isn’t going away but how about Google Docs or another Google service you enjoy?

Finally, the article gives other alternatives to Reader, which includes Feedly. Right now, Feedly is my favorite, but that might change.

The second article for this week is not really an article, but a prose poem by Tao Lin. This poem, published on the site RapGenius.com, is annotated with commentary from Lin and his fans.

This is the type of interactivity I like to see on the internet, and it’s the perfect example of how to move digital marginalia forward. It allows fans to feel invested in a work.

RapGenius.com also hosts a site called Poetry Brain where writers are annotating their poetry and prose. A lot of interesting things are going on at both of these sites, so I’ll keep reading.

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I also shared several articles on Twitter throughout the week. Here are my top favorites:

Book Publishers Scramble to Rewrite Their Future, from @wired

The Importance of Endingsfrom @bookriot

Buying a Book Twice by @bufocalvin

I’d love to hear from you about your own Friday Reads. What articles have you filled up you Kindles and tablets with this week? Follow me on Twitter to share your own favorite longform reading for the week.

Kevin Eagan (@KevEagan) is a freelance editor and writer living in Central Florida. He edits book manuscripts and articles for local and national publications. Critical Margins is his place to share his interests. You can also follow him on Google+ or check out his professional website, KevinThomasEagan.com.