06 Mar 2009

Keeping in Touch With the Blogosphere

Wordle: life as a nerd

I think it’s safe to assume that Blogs are here to stay. There, I said it. Was that so hard? No, not really. With this (semi-)new-fangled trend going on, you can think of pretty much anything and everything you’ve ever dreamed about, and there is somebody out there blogging about it. Probably passionately (and often times using Blogger no less, shudder). With all of this available information out there, I submit the question:

How do you keep track of it all?

For myself, I definitely don’t follow every blog I hear about or find. I’m semi-choosy. I’m definitely a big fan of RSS feeds, I’ve been using them probably since 2003. (For those who are lost at this point, the quick definition of RSS Feeds: An auto-updated subscription file available on blogs, news sites, etc, that allows you to get the recently posted topics from those sites. Certain programs can read these feeds and display them in a human-friendly format. It’s kinda like personalized email, but without the use of emails. :)).

Not until recently did I finally come up with a system that I feel works well for me. Up until a few weeks ago I have been using Apple’s Mail.app to manage/read my RSS feeds from all my blogs. Unfortunately, it’s a fairly new feature in Mail.app (came with Leopard) and in my opinion is lacking in a lot of areas, especially when you have a lot of feeds. Needless to say, it got burdensome in the end trying to manage it all through Mail.

Enter Google Reader.

As you can see, I’m quite a read-a-holic. I have 96 RSS subscriptions (blogs or otherwise) that I follow on a regular basis. I’ve “read” 1,732 iteams in the last 30 days of using Google Reader (which I believe is about as long as I ‘ve been using it). While that seems like an incredible amount of articles to read, I honestly browse probably 70% of the posts, skim 25%, and read probably 5% of the posts in their entirety (thanks Ben for showing me my bad math on this). Though this seems like a waste of time, it’s very useful to me to get the information I’m looking for in a quick way. I can check the posts at any time of day in ONE PLACE (rather than visiting a huge list of blogs or other sites and having to scroll down the post lists). It’s much more convenient. Also, if I’ve subscribed to a site and tend to skip most of their posts over a period of a few days, I’ll usually unsubscribe to keep my feed-bloat to a minimum.

So what exactly am I following? I would say the majority of my subscriptions are programming related, especially relating to Ruby/Rails or Objective-C/iPhone programming. I also have all my friend’s & family’s blogs on there, as well as a few soccer news feeds (ESPN and Fox soccernet). A few of my favorite feeds you ask? Here is a short list, in no particular order (I’m sure I’ll forget a few):

  • xkcd.com - (COMEDY) - absolutely hilarious comic strip for the nerd in all of us.
  • MacRumors.com - (TECH) - A pretty good Apple rumor site, one reason why most of you think I know a lot about Apple (which I do, btw…….:)).
  • CocoaWithLove.com - (PROGRAMMING) - A really great site for learning some of the more complex pieces of Objective-C and Cocoa development.
  • RyanByrd.net - (ANYTHING & EVERYTHING) - Prominent blogger Ryan Byrd and his daily ramblings. You’ll find everything from chemistry experiments to stories about shooting old T.V.’s at night in the desert ( with an ENORMOUS gun).
  • 37Signals.com - (TECH/DESIGN) - Everything from Programming, Design, Usability, and just plain ninja-awesomeness.
  • Real Salt Lake Blog - (SOCCER) - The RSL team blog, written by employees of the RSL organization.
  • KSL.com - (NEWS) - KSL top stories.
  • Ron Paul - (POLITICAL) - Campaign4Libery.com, Ron Paul’s online political community.

So, to end this post, I ask you to comment on a few questions:

  • How do you keep track of blogs/sites you are interested in?
  • How do you get to my blog in particular? Links from other blogs? Email updates? RSS?

The comment box is below….. you know what do to.

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