Blogging has opened up the internet and the sharing of ideas and information in so many wonderful ways. There is nothing quite like hearing about a subject that you are passionate about from the point of view of the blogger. Great ideas are bandied about all the time and there are so many gems of information that I love to read and share the passion of the writer. The blogging phenomenon has grown so far beyond what anyone imagined when it first started. Well, maybe the first people who envisioned what blogging could become could see how far and wide it would grow and if so we are grateful for their clarity of vision.The universe of blogs has grown so immense that it is a challenge for readers to keep up with it. Sure we all have our very favorite blogs that we don’t want to miss but there are thousands more that we would like to experience if we had the time. Of course, that is where aggregators play such an important role for anyone who likes to follow so much information that is changing dynamically all the time. The blogosphere has become sort of like an inverse Wiki- information that is constantly being changed and added to. It’s just not all in one place like a Wiki but is instead spread all over the globe. I can’t imagine trying to keep track of all the subjects that interest me without the trusty aggregator. With a good aggregator that has been properly set up to your tastes you can literally follow hundreds or thousands of blogs. That is simply awesome.There are many good aggregators available that can scour the web and pull the RSS feeds that keep us filled with the information we crave. I use Nick Bradbury’s FeedDemon which I really like but there are a number of other good ones out there, some that cost and some that are free. There are also online aggregators like Bloglines which are very popular that do essentially the same scraping of sites and doling out the headlines that the author hopes will catch our attention. I also happily use PubSub to create special RSS feeds based on key phrases of interest and generate my own special feeds.All of these great tools help me cover a staggering amount of internet ground in the search for stuff that interests me. Stuff that informs me about various subjects I am interested in hearing about. And stuff that friends and other people I respect have to say about whatever they might be writing about on a given day. This is truly a wonderful time in human history for the sharing and discussing of events that really do matter.With all of this information being summarized and presented to me so I can zoom in on that nugget of an article I don’t want to miss I have recently noticed an unpleasant side effect. I usually fire up FeedDemon several times a day when I have a few minutes to check for any new posts on the hundreds of web sites that I follow. I don’t leave it up all the time like some people because I find I can be too easily distracted from doing real work. So I only use it when I have a few minutes free. I scan the feeds and quickly look at the new summaries for all the sites and then home in on the few that catch my eye. If the article summary looks promising I might click the link and go to the site to read the whole article. Some sites include the whole article in the RSS feed so I can read those posts completely in the aggregator in which case I don’t have to visit their web site at all.I have followed this routine for so long that it is second nature and the other night I realized something was missing from the experience. Sure, I was reading all this great information but it occurred to me I wasn’t feeling the excitement I felt in the past when visiting my favorite web sites. I felt like the experience was missing something. So I thought about that for a little while and I closed my aggregator and fired up the web browser. I spent the next hour surfing the core sites that I really like and it was just great! I realized that each web site and blog has it’s own unique flavor and my online trip reminded me of that fact.Each blogger creates their site as a reflection of their personality and artistic ability. Some of the sites are amazing in the experience they create for the visitor. I was able to read all the posts on the front page, even the ones that would never catch my eye in the aggregator. It is the only way to really get the experience the blogger creates with all the articles they were driven to write in the first place. It was… fun. When was the last time that you felt browsing was actually fun. Not just informative or interesting- it was very enjoyable.So when you’re working through all those feeds with your aggregator might I suggest you step outside and smell the bloggers every once in a while. See their creation the way they intended and in the form they lovingly maintain for their visitors. I guarantee you will feel good about it.
Blogging has opened up the internet and the sharing of ideas and information in so many wonderful ways. There is nothing quite like hearing about a subject that you are passionate about from the point of view of the blogger. Great ideas are bandied about all […]