October 16, 2004

It's Gotten to the Point Where..

I guess this is a day of confessions, or realizations or cyber lifestyle testimonials.

Anyway, I have been thinking about something I said the other day, which is that it's gotten to the point where I only read things that people point me to. I mean, I read a lot of mainstream media online, but only when it comes through the aggregator as a pointer. Or someone (rarer and rarer these days) emails or tells me about it in person (they all have blogs, and know I aggregate them.. we even don't tell stories we've blogged to each other any more, because we have to stop each other short to say, 'I read that on your blog' before we resume the next part of the conversation). I don't even feel guilty about it.

Two years ago, when I started using an aggregator, I felt so guilty about not reading the NYTimes or SFGate's tech section, etc., so I vowed to balance the blogs with the mainstream, and diligently did so for a year. But the last year, I totally slipped. And I don't even care. Now I just read the metadata from mainstream news sections in the aggregator. Or worse, just search it and read that metadata set.

Anyway, I do still subscribe to food porn and house porn magazines (the pictures in mags are too good compared to online food porn) and the NYTimes on Sundays, but I only unwrap it around a week later, to look at the pictures... because everything is online, and comes through a pointer, an intermediary, a filter, a friend, my topic / semanticly-related communities centered around my interests. I gave up perusing the online sites months ago. Too busy, and the filters work better. Yeah, it's interesting to discover something. But there is so much. So I discover what about 200 people and 10 semantic communities point to and fact check. Otherwise, I get direct evidence in what I'm working on myself. One or the other.

Filters rule.

Posted by Mary Hodder at October 16, 2004 02:54 PM | TrackBack

Filters are good, provided that you know what you want clearly enough to specify the filter.

Filters are good, provided that they have good discrimination - accurately pick up what your specification is intended to pick up and reject what you don't want.

Filters are also, unfortunately, good at eliminating a lot of serendipity.

Posted by: Terry Steichen at October 17, 2004 10:00 AM

This sounds a bit like Rojo, whereby the aggregator is geared toward reading what your fellow Rojo-readers have read and/or flagged (although there's no linking involved). I tried it and liked it, but there weren't enough people in the pre-launch invitation network to make it compelling as an alternative to how I usually go about reading blogs. Maybe that will change if/when it gains traction.

Posted by: Allen Searls at October 20, 2004 06:08 PM