The Vanguard View: Insight for Association Websites

5 For Friday: Google Reader, Commenting and Content

Posted by Ray van Hilst on Fri, Mar 22, 2013


Welcome to this week’s edition of the 5 For Friday series.

I missed my 5 for Friday post last week but have kept reading and discovering great content (in addition to continuing to read To Sell is Human by Dan Pink). Here is some of what has inspired me, even if it is a bit all over the place.

Google Reader

I have been a big user of Google Reader for many years. I’m not quite the power user some are but I still have around 250 feeds I follow. So I (and many others) are devastated by Google’s decision to shut down Google Reader on July 1.  Every content junkie was just collectively told we need to quit our habit cold turkey.

While there are online petitions to save Google reader, the rest of us are scrambling to find an alternative. Digg announced they are pushing up development of their reader (add your input here) and everyone is testing other platforms.

The good news is there are a number of round-ups of Google Reader alternatives.  Here are some blogs recapping them:

I have read through these but haven’t identified the new home for my RSS feeds. So please share any feedback and comments below.

Online Commenting

I’m always amazed by how mean some people can be online. Sarah Hill, Social Marketing Specialist at MemberClicks, takes on this subject in her post for Socialfish with Why are we all Chugging the Hateraid Online? She points out how snark is on the rise and how to balance content.

Speaking of commenting, The New York Times experimented with a new commenting system around the announcement of the new Pope. While the Times already limits the number of stories it opens up to discussions, this feature helped frame the discussion a bit better than the typical vitriol that pervades online commenting.  Read more about it in this article from the Nieman Journal Lab.

Both of these offer good insight as you think about the commenting and discussion in your association websites and private communities.

Are you using (the right) images properly on your association website?

Imagery is taking on a bigger and bigger role in online content. Maggie McGary hits the nail on the head with 3 Reasons Images Just Became A Lot More Important to Your Content Strategy and offers some good thoughts and insight.  She calls out Facebook’s new look (not to mention the new cover photos for Google+) and other new image friendly features such as analytics from Pinterest and a new web feed from Instragram.  Check out more at

However, here’s the big question as you rush to put images in your content? Are you creating good content or tired old clichés? I published a post earlier this week (hopefully) rallying content managers to Just Say NO to Stock Photography for Association Websites. The key thing to remember is that photos are good for your content… if they are the right photos.

Looking for more good reads? Here are some of our most recent blog posts:

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