Monday, June 24, 2013

Anatomy of a Recent Breakup

I hate breaking up. Breaking up is messy. Breaking up is traumatic. I hate telling someone I just can't be with them anymore. I hate how it disrupts my carefully ordered life. I just hate the change in general. I cry a lot, and then feel disgusted with myself for wasting a lot of good make up on a no good loser. I feel like a complete failure.

Then the transition begins, from a life that revolved around the one you thought you loved to a life without him. And as one who hates change more than anything else in the whole wide world, it's absolutely miserable. The change is probably the worst part of the breakup. All the cliches are true. All you want to do is live on the couch forever with your cat, your fuzzy slippers, and maybe a bottle of wine. But this is a good sign, because it's followed by the best part of the entire experience, when all the gloriously angry feelings of hatred rush in to the rescue like the knight in shining armor. I love those feelings. The cloak of self-righteousness which you whip about with glee as you realize you're not chained to a no good rat anymore. This is the stage I am currently at, and so I'd like to tell you, dear Google, to take your precious Reader and shove it.

I've been using Google Reader since 2008 to keep track of all my online addictions. I met Reader during Economics class. Economics class was maybe the worst experience of my college career, so Reader provided a welcome distraction. Reader saved my computer from going into a tizzy when I clicked the magical "Open all bookmarks in tabs" button. I saved all my favorite design blogs, makeup blogs, blogs by girls living in big cities, blogs run by floral designers. I labeled them all cute blogs, because that seemed a good enough catch all description.

Reader was there for me as I developed new loyalties and severed old ones. As the girls with cute blogs got married and turned their blogs into mommy blogs, I would replace them with funny, clever blogs written by single girls. I saved baseball blogs to help with my fantasy baseball hobby, and I mainly consulted them in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep. Reader kept track of all my favorite recipe blogs and the recipes I wanted to try. All of these blogs were sorted by default into cute blogs, but it was okay because I only read what I felt like reading. Reader tells the uncategorized story of the last five years of my life. Like a boyfriend, it's stood by me patiently as I fell in and out of love with fads and hobbies, and somewhere amidst the muddle I began to find myself.

But then, two months ago, Google had the gall to announce that since the universe is now powered by Twitter, they were going to discontinue Google Reader. Board it up. Lock the door. Throw away the key. What about all my blogs? I wailed as I, ironically, googled this to see if it was indeed true. It was. And what's more, everyone was saying that Google Reader was an archaic tool no one used because everyone subscribed to blogs via Twitter. This was rubbing salt into the disgrace of being broken up with in less than 140 characters.

And just as any girl going through a breakup vows, I vowed to replace Reader with something better, stronger, and of course, faster. But it wasn't so easy. In the past five years the internet has gone mobile, and though I knew that had something to do with iPhones it also means everything is an app now. Even for the computer. It's tough nails for people like me who like the safety of being able to pop up the daily reads anywhere, whether at work or at home, on an old-fashioned computer. Reader was good to me because it organized my messy blog links added haphazardly over the years on whims while still allowing me to feel like I was in control. Kind of like a parent who organizes your chaos for you. But none of these new Reader substitutes understood me. They didn't know what to do with the mishmash of links ranging from The Kitchn to my friends' personal blogs. Some would create even more chaos by dumping everything into five different folders named "Uncategorized 1", "Uncategorized 2", "Uncategorized 3", and so on.

Then, a few weeks before Google was scheduled to shut down my beloved Reader I met Feedly. It's not perfect. Kind of like making out with someone new is hard because neither of you know what the other likes. No matter what the movies say, first kisses are not fairy tale experiences complete with foot popping. The shock of an unknown tongue in your mouth is always jarring at first. But eventually you get used to it. After a while you can decide whether he's great at kissing or not and make your life decisions accordingly. Thankfully RSS aggregators are less permanent than boyfriends, and though I was forced into this rebound relationship, I will be the one who decides when to break up with Feedly. And the process can begin again.


Jenna (J and Co) said...

I just found out that when I exported to Old Reader, it didn't save any of my tags. That's 5 years of organized links! Now I'm having to go through it all -- I'm going to have a pinterest dump in the next few days to save everything. And I hate old reader.

So yes, mostly I'm in denial that google reader is leaving.

Ken Row said...

I've been dating Feedly too. Not sure how to relate that to your "not like it sounds" meme.

Jennifer said...

Easily the best description of the sorrow and mourning in a post-Reader world. Siiiigh.