Finding interesting stuff in the blogosphere
People are writing lots of interesting things in blogs nowadays, while other internet forums, like Usenet newsgroups descend into banality and flame wars.
Of course there are lots of banal and boring blogs out there too, so how does one find the good stuff?
Three years ago, one of the key tools for this was Technorati. It claimed to have something like 74 million blogs registered. If I wanted to blog on a topic I found interesting, I could go to Technorati to see what other bloggers were saying on the topic, because one could search for tags or key words in the post. Not any more, however. I’ve posted several articles in this blog in the last few days, but the last time Technorati indexed it was 5 days ago. So if my articles are missing, chances are that other recent articles on the topic on other blogs are missing too. It took Technorati 35 days to catch up with my family history blog recently. And over the last few months I haven’t noticed a single incoming link from Technorati, so I suppose other people have noticed this as well, and have just stopped using it.
Another tool, for South African blogs, anyway, is Amatomu. It’s certainly a lot more up to date than Technorati. Ping it when you post something new and it’s there. Even if you don’t ping it, if the blog is registered, new posts are picked up within a few hours. But there are also some strange anomalies. I’ve noticed over the last couple of weeks, for example, a blog called EJ Hill & friends has steadily climbed up the popularity charts in the religion section of Amatomu, but with no sign of any new posts at all.
On my other blog Notes from underground, I have a Feedjit widget, which is a kind of reverse of the process — instead of enabling me to find other blogs, it shows how people found mine. Apart from showing that I live in Parow, Western Cape (which is about a thousand miles from where I actually live), it is quite interesting, because it seem that more than 90% of the people who find my blog find it through Google. I’ve not seen anyone coming from Technorati or Amatomu. There have been only a very few from Afrigator and Muti, and a sprinkling from MyBlogLog and BlogCatalog.
So it seems that most people who are looking for stuff on the blogosphere are looking in Google, and they are looking in the ordinary Google search, not the Google blog search section. Whether they are finding what they are looking for is another thing.
Some people have recommended Digg to me, but I’ve found it entirely useless. For one thing, it is intended for news articles, not blog posts. And for another, even if I have wanted to “digg” a news article, there are no categories on Digg to put the kind of articles that interest me. As a corollary, there are no categories on Digg to begin looking for the kind of articles that interest me. Digg covers a pretty narrow field centred on technology and entertainment, with little room for anything else. So even for news it is quicker and easier to find what you are looking for on Google.
So how does one find the good stuff?
The way I find works best for me is the manual way, with no quick fixes. I go to blogs I like, which I think have interesting content, and look at the blogs on their blogroll, or the people who make interesting comments on their blog, and follow the links.
And for hot topics, probably the best bet is to go with Google. Technorati lags way too far behind.
PS: Something seems to have gone wrong with the WordPress editor, today, so I can’t enter tags, the cursor just won’t go there. I’ll just have to enter Technorati tags. Perhaps Technorati has some uses after all!