Creating your own online magazine

I am a creature of routine. I used to listen to Today on Radio 4 when I got up in the morning; now because I can’t stand the egos being pushed into my ears, I have a much more peaceful and indeed useful start to the day – after I’ve scanned The Guardian (online), BBC News (online) and Wales Online websites, and checked my email and other social media such as Google+ (alas – soon to be no more), WhatsApp, Twitter and less frequently than I used to – Facebook.

I’ll start at the beginning and describe what I do to curate my interests, my daily internet workflow. The jumping-off point is to check my RSS Feeds using Feedly. What is an RSS Feed I hear some of you say? Well it’s a signal from a website that new content has been posted on a website. So if there are a number of sites that you are interested in, you can get an alert with an extract of content sent to you by what is called a RSS Feed, which you can then pick-up and read in full using a RSS Reader. Now the favoured Reader for a long-time was Reader (from Google) – but as is their wont, Google “sunsetted” it. That is they killed it off. Fortunately a really good alternative came to the rescue in Feedly. Every time I come across a website I want to follow, I add it to my Feedly and, as long as a RSS Feed can be setup for the site, place it in a category for the feed (eg photography, or IT) so that my stream of reading is organised to some level. I could stop there, after all I’ve got the link to the webpage, it’s stored in a category and I can go back and read it anytime I’m online. However, what if I just want to scan quickly the content, and go back to it later, or what if I want to read it online? That’s where Pocket comes in.

If I see an article in Feedly that I want to read later, or even archive, I add it to my Pocket, giving it some tags to help me find it later. I do both of these tasks on a smartphone, or tablet, it’s much easier than using a desktop/laptop as there are good apps which work together for both Feedly and Pocket. Once in Pocket, the article, stripped of everything that is irrelevant, can be read offline – once it’s sync’d the content from the web to your device – or alternatively you can click on a button to read the original article online.

But then occasionally, I come across some content that I want to share more widely – to the Thought grazing community for instance; and for this I use Flipboard which is a really easy way of creating an online magazine; made up of articles (perhaps with comments added) which you found interesting. From my Pocket app, I just click on the Share button and select <Share via …> and chose Flipboard. On Flipboard I’ve created a couple of “magazines”, so I chose which one I want to “publish” the article to, and perhaps write a comment about the article; and then Post it. That’s all there is to it, but what do you need to do to replicate my workflow and produce something like this …

View my Flipboard Magazine.

Curating the web

Step 1 – create a Feedly account, and download the app if you’re going to use a smartphone, or tablet

Step 2 – select websites you want to get an RSS feed from [see above, or read What is an RSS feed?]

Step 3 – check periodically to see what has “popped-up” in your feed reader.

Saving for another day, or for off-line reading (bookmarking+)

Step 1 – create a Pocket account, and download the app if you’re going to use a smartphone, or tablet

Step 2 – save to Pocket from your browser (perhaps using a browser extension), or from a sharing icon in Feedly

Step 3 – tag your articles, and read at your leisure, or when you want to

Creating a magazine to share with others

Step 1 – create a Flipboard account, and download the app if you’re going to use a smartphone, or tablet

Step 2 – create a Magazine within your Flipboard account, and decide whether to make it Private or Public

Step 3 – add articles to your magazine from your Pocket app (as described above) , or from your web browser

Good luck!

How to use “Thought grazing …”

Public and Private – what’s the difference?

There is a difference and what you see depends on whether you’re logged in as a registered user of the site. All Cardiff U3A Computer Group members have been registered – you just need to Login to see the Private Content.

So Public looks like this …

… and Private looks like this …

Occasionally there might be a Sticky post that sits at the top of the feed of blog posts …

So you need to login using a Login box …

Features of the site: the Menu bar

Features of the site: Click on the Menu bar and there are two items

The first is a tab to click on for Meeting Notes …

The second is a tab to click on for Member Posts …

In both cases everyone (Public) can see the indexes, but if they click on an item they will get a polite message telling them they can’t see the content of the post. This will happen to you as well, if you haven’t logged in. You are able to Login from the bottom of both of these pages, and the polite refusal page as well as the Home page.

Features of the site: Commenting on a post

You might like to add a comment – something you’ve found out as an addition, or a problem you’re having in following up the meeting notes. So for instance, below is a Private post …

… to which I replied …

Features of the site: Creating your own post

Finally, you may come across something you think other members of the Group would be interested in; or you might be having a problem, or issue with your computing that you want advice about. I can’t promise to be able to answer every issue, or problem, but perhaps there’s someone else in the Group that might be able to help.

Once you’re logged in, you will have the status of Author on the site. That means that you can write a Member post. You do this by clicking on the New button at the top of the page …

… this will open an editor screen. It’s not quite like a Word Processor, but it does much the same sort of thing. Play with it until you get the hang of it. You can always save what you’re doing as a Draft document – you don’t have to Publish it. [Tip: Leave it in Visual, rather than Text mode.]

… once you’ve finished your Post, and before you Publish it, assign it to the closest Category that you think it fits, and then provide a list of tags that you think best describe it. [I may, probably will, add tags to posts but it would be helpful if you could have a first stab at it. Using tags helps users of the site find articles they might want to read.]

… and that’s about it.