Saturday, May 20, 2006

Subscribe Via Email (to the blog or the comments)

If you're actually reading this on the blog as opposed to through Bloglines (or other RSS aggregator), you'll notice two new subscription boxes on the right. They are both powered by Squeet (more on Squeet below). The top one allows you to subscribe via email to The Fischbowl, meaning that any time a new post is published, it will get delivered to your email address within a few hours. The bottom one allows you to do the same thing for comments to The Fischbowl.

We talked about email versus RSS earlier this year and - for me - I would still prefer to receive content in Bloglines rather than my email account. I get enough email as it is and I find it easier to keep/read/think about content in my aggregator without cluttering up my already rather full inbox. But I realize that some of you might prefer receiving email, so after testing Squeet for a little while I'm ready to provide that option. Simply type the email address you'd like to use in either the top box (for posts), or the bottom box (for comments) and click Subscribe. That will take you to Squeet where you will have to create an account (it's free) and then make some choices about how you'd like to receive your email (every time something is published, once a day, once a week, etc.). Squeet will then send a confirmation email to the email address you entered to make sure you were the one requesting this service. Once you click on the link in that email, you're setup. If you want to get both posts and comments, simply repeat the same process (although you won't have to create an account the second time, just use your existing account) with the other subscription box.

While I've provided the subscription boxes on the right, the nice thing about Squeet is that you can use the service with any RSS feed. Once you've created an account, simply go to Squeet, login, and you can add any feed you'd like simply by pasting the feed address (you do have to make sure you have the feed address, not just the blog address). After clicking on the link in the confirmation email, you'll be setup. You can manage your Squeet account (add new feeds, delete existing feeds, change options for the emails) all on the Squeet page. In my testing, it seems to work really well.

I still think that using an RSS aggregator like Bloglines is a good way to organize your "personal professional development through RSS," but this gives you another option. It will also give you a taste of what should be possible with the next version of Microsoft Outlook (which should be out by early next year), which is supposed to have RSS built into it. If you do try this, please let me know how it works for you (both in terms of ease of signup and in terms of managing the content in your email instead of in your aggregator).

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