Patrick and I were talking yesterday about the “types” of people who want to read news and blogs on the internet. Nearly everyone uses the web to go out and read articles, so even if they don’t know it they are gathering feed-based information. This most basic method of information hunting-and-gathering is just fine, but there might be another way that fits your personal work patterns better.
Here is the breakdown as I see it. People will tend to do one or more of the following:
- go out to multiple websites each day and read articles, columns, journals, and news on their own “home pages”
- use a web-based service (Bloglines, Google Reader) to collect, or aggregate, the information on a single web page
- use a program (like Thunderbird) to collect articles from favorite news sources and treat them like e-mail
I personally like getting my news alongside my e-mail using Mozilla Thunderbird. I check my e-mail quite frequently and tend to fall behind on reading my favorite websites. By getting a message every time a new article is posted, I can keep up with things better. This is solely a factor of the way I like to work, not a choice based on efficiency or “correctness.”
We at IT expect other people feel the same way, so I’ve prepared a quick guide for any Thunderbird user who might want to try out gathering feeds in this way. Let me know if it helps!
The interactive web has been featured on NPR in the form of Twitter. Twitter is a blog-based service with no potential revenue stream. It allows everyone to post what they are doing at any given moment. The attraction? It is easy to post a tiny blurb via IM or phone. I get the feeling that people are tired of reading digest-sized voluminous blogs. Twitter is more stream of consciousness and more apt to be adapted in ways like Twittervision. I personally like Flickrvision better as a timewaster, but Twitter itself allows you to set up friend groups to narrow your focus.
Another “connected” site is Hype Machine. Hype Machine is a blog aggregator that focuses entirely on music blogs. This way you can find out what is hot just as it is warming up. Many of these blogs link to MP3s, and then Hype Machine caches them. That way you can stream a flash version of songs directly from Hype servers and click a link to buy via iTunes, eMusic, or Amazon. Alternately you could use the Hype Machine to link out to various blogs and do your own reading and listening. I fail to see how any band today could remain “underground” for more than a day or so. Today’s hipsters can be into new trends before the bands even get together!
Some of my friends express dismay at the two-way web. One fellow said that he feels increasingly insignificant in the face of this very big interactive world. Is anyone out there still expecting privacy or anonymity?