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Google Reader Demise Forces Changes at GeneaBloggers

changes at geneabloggers

changes at geneabloggers


Well, I’ve put this off as long as I could, but with the Google Reader shutdown taking place on July 1, 2013, I feel obligated to inform members and readers of GeneaBloggers of some upcoming changes at the site.

The “back end” of GeneaBloggers is dependent on Google Reader, from the list of member blogs, to the list of genealogy blogs by type, and especially the rollup-widgets for the Daily Blogging Prompts. After four years in existence, it is time for me to move GeneaBloggers to a more reliable, less proprietary technology-specific platform for aggregating member content.

How Things Work Now with Google Reader and GeneaBloggers

Each day, I review over 500 blog posts from members of GeneaBloggers using my Google Reader account. I manually “tag” those posts which meet the criteria for that day’s Daily Blogging Prompt.  Yes, this is a “handcrafted” operation here at GeneaBloggers. In addition, when new blogs are added, they are added to my Google Reader and tagged by type.

All this takes me about 10 hours a week to do and it has been a labor of love since these listings have been key to the sense of community spirit at GeneaBloggers.

Ch-ch-ch-changes . . .

Here’s what you can expect to see over the next month:

  • Removal of roll-up-widgets for Daily Blogging Prompts: I’ve looked at other means of listing member content specific to a prompt, but none of the options would prevent spammers and the “ugly and toxic ones on the Web” as I call them from taking over the listings.  I will continue to look for new technologies that accomplish an aggregation of content based on keyword or topic, but again, I fear being too dependent upon a proprietary technology that could easily disappear next week or next year.
  • Use of Pinterest: Since January 2013, I have been posting member content to boards at Pinterest set up for some of the Daily Blogging Prompts. Doing so requires that each post have an image of a minimum size.  I will set up new boards for as many of the other prompts as I can.
  • Member blog listing: I will be converting the listing to a database that will include blog type and be searchable by keyword.

These changes will take place during the month of June 2013 and no later than July 1, 2013. Some you will see as soon as tomorrow; some will appear closer to the end of June. Your feedback and suggestions are appreciated and can be sent to geneabloggers at gmail dot com.

©2013, copyright Thomas MacEntee

15 thoughts on “Google Reader Demise Forces Changes at GeneaBloggers

  1. Thomas, like most geneabloggers, I also wondered what the disappearance of Google reader will have on the wonderful community you have set up. Thanks for updating us! I hope you’ll eventually find a good replacement technology. I did read somewhere that Feedly will be offering an roll-up-widget service for a fee eventually. They use to offer it for free but took it off during the overwhelming increase in demand when Google announced it’s changes. It might be worth looking into but I don’t know what guarantees you’ll have that they won’t go offline in the future.

  2. Ginger – it is the listing in blue where the latest 10 blog posts appear for each blogging prompt. Most readers see this each day in the Genealogy Blogging Beat. If you read GeneaBloggers via RSS feed, you may not actually see the widget unless you go to

  3. Thomas –

    As someone who works in the IT Industray and then comes home and does IT for everyone else (and their brother, sister, mother, cousin, third cousin twice removed, etc….) I wanted to drop a line and let you know how much appreciated it is, this work that you do for the genealogical community. We are, always, at the mercy of where the technology takes us. No matter how well planned, something better always comes along and its important (though painful) to make changes to keep up. I applaud you for all your work and although I am sure it is a labor of love, it is labor, nonetheless. Thank you.

  4. I’ve switched to Feedly, which is okay although not as easily used as Google Reader It also works with both PC and Mac, which is good for many. Will you include an RSS feed on Geneabloggers to link with Feedly?

  5. Thank you for keeping us updated. I wanted to let you know how grateful I am for the geneabloggers group, web site, facebook page, etc. You have managed to craft a sense of community and support that has been invaluable to me during my first year as a newbie geneablogger. I look forward to continuing regardless of what the future may bring. Everything you do is greatly appreciated!

  6. Thomas, You are truly the Genea-God! The time you spend on maintaining the Geneablogging community is truly appreciated. Thank you.

  7. What a lot of time you devote to this group, Thomas. Thank you!

    You could use link-ups for the prompts and bloggers who wrote posts for the prompts could link their own posts at I think it would be less work for you (though maybe not) and I think it might create a different sense of community among the bloggers, especially if when linking to the prompt bloggers were encouraged to visit other bloggers’ posts on the topic.

    Link-ups are available from,, and There are probably others but these are ones I’ve seen used.

    Personally, I like using the link-ups rather than having someone else do it for me. If it’s important to the blogger to have his post included, he’ll take the responsibility to link it.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  8. Thomas, you have truly united the genea-world through the work you have done with geneabloggers (and your other too-numerous-to-list-in-a-comment activities). Thank you for your continuing efforts to educate and enlighten us about the continuous changes and progress in the world-wide genealogy community.

  9. Firstly, a thank you for the sense of unity that you and the Geneabloggers website brings. Of course it does not stop at sharing a story and a link, but develops into a friendship that bridges the many miles & situations between us all.

    I have to say I agree with Nancy. Add a linky (I like linky dinky! – the sun is out and I am feeling very frivolous!) to each post then as people write their posts they nip onto your Geneabloggers and add their URL to the relevant prompt – Sorting Saturday etc etc. – There is in addition to the ones Nancy has mentioned.

    It will free up a bit of time for you and make the Geneabloggers concept a bit more two way. Sepia Saturday does this ( so you can see what I mean. It will also enable bloggers to share a relevant post, without having to put the prompt in the title.

    As to Pinterest, a board for the prompts will be good and I might start using it more.

    Best wishes

  10. Thomas,

    Thank you for everything that you do. I know we’ll follow you no matter what you decide works best. Good luck finding your tech solution! – Jenn

  11. I had one other thoughts about the link-ups: if it’s too much work for you to do those (as in, 7 or 8 or more each day of the week) it might be something that other bloggers could adopt and host once/week on their own blogs. I would be happy to take a day, take a meme, and host it each week. Perhaps there are others who would do that, too. (In fact, maybe the bloggers who came up with the ideas for the memes would like to host them.) You could put the link here to the hosting blog. I know John Newmark used to do this for Amanuensis Monday and a few of us linked from there but I think, because other bloggers knew that you linked for them, they didn’t bother. Just 2 more cents’ worth.

    I know you’ve dedicated a lot of time to us gen bloggers and I’m sure it has to be challenging as technology and providers keep changing their offerings. You’d doing a great job, Thomas! thank you.

  12. Thanks for all your efforts to create and maintain this strong Geneablogger community, Thomas! Things keep moving along in the world of technology, and you amaze me at how quickly you keep up and keep us aware of the changes. Thanks again for all that you do.

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