I spoke to a great group of lawyers in Boise yesterday. Despite being regular users of the Internet, most were understandably scratching their heads when it came to blogs and RSS technology. Matt Marshall of The San Jose Mercury News reported this week, Bloglines, a free online service does as good a job as any at simplifying it all on a single Web page. I agree.
I especially liked the company’s guiding principal: “To make the service simple enough for the founder Mark Fletcher’s parents to use.”
Bloglines builds on the trend of Internet users’ desire to subscribe to news and other online content in a way that lets them see it all on a single Web page when they wake up in the morning — or at any other time of day.
Say you want to read newspapers online as well as your favorite gardening blog. Bloglines lets you use a single search box to find these sources. Then you subscribe to feeds from these sites so that new articles or blog updates arrive automatically at your Bloglines account.
The best thing for lawyers new to blogs and RSS is that Bloglines is Web-based. That means you reach it just like any Web site, by opening up your browser and keying in the Web address or doing a search on Google to find it. You do not need to download any software.
Marshall also listed a number of other tools Bloglines provides:
- Lets you organize your subscriptions in topical folders. If you like gardening, for example, all your garden blog updates will be filed into your “garden” folder, and a little number will appear by it to show you how many new updates you have.
- Click on the folder, and Bloglines will list the headlines of the articles. It also will give a short summary of what they’re about, or even the full text, depending on what the originating source allows.
- If you choose only headlines, and want to read a full article, you click on the headline, and a link takes you to the source’s Web site.
- After each news item, Bloglines gives you the option of e-mailing the item to someone, saving it in your own files or even pasting a link in your own blog.
- Lets you share your favorite news feeds with colleagues.
- Recommends news sources you might want to subscribe to, based on what your colleagues or other like-minded people have subscribed to.
Fletcher co-founded a company that became known as eGroups, bought in 2000 by Yahoo for $420 million. He told the Mercury News he loved “being back in the garage again.”
I loved the concept of starting lexBlog out of the garage (we have offices now) but I can guaranty you LexisNexis did not pay me anywhere near $420 million when they bought the last company I founded.