Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stuff you can do if you run out of stuff to do on the internet

I'm sure I'm like a lot of you when I say that I've got content coming out the wazoo most of the time. Far too much stuff. My normal routine is to first hit up Twitter to see what's new. I'm something of a completeist, so I usually read most of what I've read back to the last time I read Twitter. Brizzly is a great Twitter client for that because of the J/K shortcut keys and the continuous scrolling. Can scroll through a great deal in a short amount of time. When I've just gotten too far behind, the new Twitter lists are great for checking up on certain people or things. They now work in Brizzly too, so the same scrolling principles apply. Once that's done, I usually float into Google Reader. While some notables in the Tech community have all but abandoned it, I still find it to be the most useful tool for accumulating what you want to read for later consumption. Sure, I end up seeing a good chunk in my Twitter feed (I do still try to avoid Twitter feeds that are simply mirror's of a site's RSS feed, because Google Reader does that better), but I can aggregate a lot of things.

Very rarely do I run out of things on Reader. If, by chance I happen to, there's a few things I will do if I have some time to kill and my laptop in front of me.

The Popular Feed on Google Reader - The popular feed is great to find new stuff to read and peruse what people like. I like to page through it periodically. Lots of good visual stuff on this feed. I've found multiple new blogs to follow this way.

Comment feed on friend's shared items in Google Reader - Google's implemented a bunch of features related to the social aspects of sharing items. They're implemented rather haphazardly in my opinion. However, conversations do start up on some items, and it's always worth a gander to see what people are saying.

Drop in on your Twitter Lists - Lists are a great new feature in Twitter. I've used them to find and increase the number of accounts I follow. Increasingly, I'm following people on my lists that I don't follow on my main Twitter account. Mostly because they are entities or people that I don't always need to see updates from, but are good to check in on every once in a while.

Drop in on other people's Twitter Lists - one of the other great features about lists on Twitter is that you can follow other people's lists. This allows you to sample tweets from other people without actually following them or taking the time to cultivate the list yourself. I like to go in and do this periodically to see what's going on. The Breaking News list compiled by a New York Times editor I follow is interesting when a story is breaking. The New York Times staff list is also another one I'm liking a lot. And the list of TC Journalists is also interesting for a local new perspective. There's lists for all manner of things, the sky is the limit, really. There's a list for that, so-to-speak.

Check out Friendfeed - this is something I'm doing less than a few months ago, but I follow a base of people on that site that I don't follow other places, and they're interesting people. There's always something to look at content wise there because FF aggregates an individual's content, and it does a pretty good job of filtering the best of the day for various lists you can set up. Unfortunatly, the once-thriving native-to-friendfeed community here is less of one - since facebook bought the company a few months back a lot of people have all but abandoned native participation in favor of it simply being a stream. I'm guilty of that myself.

I very rarely peruse individual sites for content anymore - I can't remember the last time I went to look at startribune.com without being linked there, for example. I very rarely look at individual blogs where I'm not either linked there or read it in Google Reader. It's an interesting shift from the way things used to be, but it's one that I find gives me more information that I want/need, versus having to go through a bunch of stuff that I don't care about.