Keep Up With Rand News With Google Alerts And Reader

Michael Stuart Kelly

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Keep Up With Rand News With Google Alerts And Reader

Step-by-step do-it-yourself system

Here is a step-by-step way to make your own little customized news service on Rand. The first time you go through this, you might want to print it out so you can keep the paper in front of you and mark off the steps as you do them.

Step 1 - Gmail account

Set up a brand new Google Gmail account using a special name. Here is the link: Google Gmail Account. (Just follow the directions. It's very easy.)

This step is not mandatory (but do it anyway). I find it extremely useful since it keeps my research separate from the rest of my other emails. You should choose a name that reflects Rand stuff, but any name you want to use will do. This name is for your control. I do not recommend using one of your existing email accounts, but if you feel more organized that way, go for it.

You can have as many different Gmail accounts as you will ever need, so don't worry about violating their terms of service with this. A Gmail account will automatically create an all-inclusive Google Account for you. This gives you access to almost all Google services under the same account name. I suggest you keep your login information handy (or use a password manager like Roboform or Lastpass, but if you don't, no problem). Your login info will be the same for all Google resources under this account.

Step 2 - Manage Account, Alerts and Reader

At the very beginning, I like to control all Google services from the same page, so once you log in to your Gmail, go here: Manage Account.

There is a section at the bottom called "Try Something New." This is where you will add "Alerts" and "Reader." Click "More" if they do not appear and find them on the list. Once you add them, they should appear under "My Products."

I right-click them and open them in a new tab when I use them, but if you get lost, there is an easy solution. Simply log into your Gmail, then go to a normal Google search page and type in "Google Alerts" or "Google Reader." When you open them from the search results, you will already be signed in (since you are signed into your Gmail).

Step 3 - Keywords

Make a list of keywords you want for your Google Alerts. I suggest "Ayn Rand" (in quotes) and Objectivism as the keywords you use when you first set this up. You can add more later.

Step 4 - Set up Alerts

Set up one Alert for each term. Here are the settings I suggest for this particular project:

Type: Everything

How often: as-it-happens

Email length: up to 50 results

Deliver to: Feed

This last is the most important. Do not have it deliver the Alerts to your email, but instead to "Feed."

You can play around with the settings if you wish. It is a good idea to get familiar with them.

Also, when the term you want to make the Alert for is more than one word, put it in quotes.


"Ayn Rand"

Not as good:

Ayn Rand

Step 5 - Alert Feed link for Reader

After creating the Alerts, click on "Manage your Alerts" if the program does not take you there automatically. There will be a column called "Deliver to." You can copy the "Feed" URL (right click on the hyperlinked word "Feed" and select "copy link location" in Firefox--there should be something similar for other browsers). You will need this in the Reader.

Or there might be a link called "View in Google Reader." If there is, right-click on that and open it in a new tab.

Step 6 - Reader

In the Reader, fool around with it until you get it looking the way you like. I personally prefer "List:" view over "Expanded" view. Click the "Add a Subscription" button and paste the Alert feed URL into it. Then click the "Add" button.

If you went to the Reader from the "View in Google Reader" in Alerts, you do not need to add the subscription. It is automatically done.

Do this for each Alert.

The Alerts will be delivered there for as long as you do not cancel them. So you can go to the Reader every day and see the new Rand news from all over the web.

Note that this will only give new things that get posted (or updated) that are indexed by Google. So you might know of some article someone posts that does get included. If that happens, that means Google did not index it yet or did not index it for some reason. But don't worry. You should get plenty of stuff.


You are done.


To recap:

1. Set up a Gmail account with a new name.

2. Go to the Manage Account page and add Alerts and Reader.

3. Make a list of keywords for Alerts.

4. Make an Alert for each keyword (and deliver to "Feed").

5. Copy Feed link in Alerts, or click on "View in Google Reader."

6. In Reader, add subscription (Alert Feed URL), or do nothing if you went there from "View in Google Reader." Do this for each Alert.



Note: You can use this system for any subject.

Other note: If you want to find more keywords, Google has a free keyword tool: Google Adwords Keyword Tool. You can find some highly searched-for keywords there (I suggest you start your "Find keywords" search with "Ayn Rand").

Last note: You can tweak your Alerts and Reader as you go along depending on what shows up.

If you have any questions, please ask.


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Here is an older set of 3 short videos that gives a slightly different way of going about this.

Become an Instant Expert on Any Subject with Google Reader

This is where I first learned this technique. This guy has you set up the Google Account from the Reader instead of Gmail, but it's all the same thing. If you do it his way, you will automatically get a Gmail account under the same name. The Alerts part is in the 3rd video.

He has some good advice on how to choose blog feeds for the Reader (in addition to Alerts), so if you don't know this stuff, you can watch all 3 videos and you will definitely not waste your time.

Note that Google looks a little different now, so you might have to look around a bit, but it's all there and it's easy to find.


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