Tuesday, January 8, 2008

How To Find Interesting Blogs

So, you've got a bit of free time on your hands, and want to find more interesting stuff to read about. You want to read more blogs. But the internet is a big place, so you're not sure what to look for.

1) Use an RSS Reader. This will literally double your productivity immediately, and increase it significantly more once you are used to some of the tricks of how to skip over posts. There are three advantages to having an RSS reader. First, you can't forget about blogs that are updated infrequently. Second, you only have to load one page instead of dozens or hundreds of pages to see all the new posts. Third, you get a "push" update system, where you can see what updates there are without having to check each blog separately. Nearly every website you visit has an RSS feed these days.

2) Focus on quality over quantity. This goes along with #1. If you have to check each page independently, it is easier to just read a few high-volume blogs than to read 50 that have 2 posts per week. But the right 50 low-volume blogs are likely to be multiple times more interesting and useful than one high-volume blog.

3) Don't get caught up on the word "blog". There's still a lot of buzz about blogs, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you care that it's a blog. A feed from CNN or the Wall Street Journal of the day's news stories may be more useful than a blogger's take on them. Slashdot was around before the word blog was, but that doesn't mean you would ignore it.

4) Start with a few high-volume popular blogs. In general, blogs tend to link to other blogs a lot. The advantage of this is that once you develop a critical mass of blogs, you can find more blogs relatively easily. The best way to do this is to get a list of "most popular" RSS feeds in a category, or to just do a search for interesting keywords plus blog.

5) Look at lists. The "Techmeme Leaderboard" may be gamed by Jason Calacanis and Robert Scoble, but it's a pretty reasonable list of the top "Silicon Valley/Tech Industry" blogs. The "Truth Laid Bear ecosystem" may have problems dealing with the fact that liberals and conservatives don't interlink (and by ignoring DU and FReep), but it's a great list of the top political blogs.

5) Start looking old school. One easy sign of quality in a blog is how old it is; if it existed in 2000 and still exists, it must be doing something right. There's also a lot more history to see whether it's worthwhile, and possibly a healthy community of commenters. With a new blog, it's a lot harder to tell whether it will be worthwhile or not, and in fact there's a better chance it will simply disappear.

6) Add link blogs. These are a great way of finding out what other people think are interesting.

7) Seek out detailed topics. If you are looking for a "technology blog", you're not going to find that much beyond Engadget and Gizmodo just from a basic search. However, if you're interested in developments on voice recognition in GPS units, you can do a more detailed search, and find out what people were saying last year. Past performance isn't a guarantee of future results, but people who predicted the present in the past are a good bet.

1 comment:

  1. Easiest way to find interesting blogs to type "interesting blogs" in Google :-)