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Finding interesting stuff in the blogosphere

13 December 2008

People are writing lots of interesting things in blogs nowadays, while other internet forums, like 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 . 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 has some uses after all!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. 13 December 2008 3:58 pm

    I agree, most aggregators are useless if you are looking for blogs that deal with topics outside of commerce and partisan politics. One of my continuing frustrations is the lack of categories for ethnic groups or social issues. I wrote about this once and actually received a response on my blog from the administrator of BlogFlux. It led to him creating a catchall “civil rights” category, a less than satisfactory outcome, but it’s still progress of a sort I suppose. One aggregator you may want to try is blogged.com. It contains user submitted and editor reviewed blogs in a diversity of categories.

  2. 13 December 2008 8:28 pm

    I’ve found a lot of good stuff using StumbleUpon. You have to download their toolbar, but it really seems to be worth it. When you create your account, you list your interests. Granted, the categories are quite broad, but as you vote a thumbs up or down on the sites it sends you, it learns your more exact preferences. Also, it’s somewhat social. You get to have “Friends,” and you usually StumbleUpon things they liked. Chances are that if your friends found it interesting, you will too. You can even set your preferences to not StumbleUpon R rated content, videos, music, or other bandwidth-eating content. If you do sign up, be sure to friend me, as I’m sure I’d like whatever you sent my way!

    • 14 December 2008 5:42 am

      Yes, Stumble-Upon is a useful place where I have found some interesting stuff, though it is mainly useful for ordinary web sites rather than blogs and blog postings.

  3. 14 December 2008 5:48 am

    Malik,

    I could add that when Amatomu started they were open to suggestions. I remarked about the fairly narrow range of categories, and one of the examples I gave was religion — where do you put stuff on that topic? So they made a religion category, for which I am grateful, but there are still gaps — art and literature, the humanities generally. In fact that is the problem with most of them — neglect of the humanities. Digg is particularly bad in that respect.

  4. 15 December 2008 11:23 am

    I have up on Technorati a couple of years ago.

    Blessings and bliss

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