Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Someone Is Starting To Use Their Noggin

This item will probably be getting lots of commentary in the next few days. A newspaper in Greensboro, NC, has taken blogs and the online revolution seriously and is starting to think of the ways it is going to have to change. Many specific ideas are listed in the article.

Looking at some of the ideas and thinking "Yeah, but how are they going to filter out all the noise?" jibes with something I've been wrestling with myself for the last few days, which is: how to improve the signal to noise ratio of the blogosphere? Before the election, when the stakes were high, and interest was very tightly focused, it was pretty easy to find good pertinent writing. The white hot intensity of the era also caused the birth of a veritable tsunami (sorry) of new blogs, including this one. Like a laser beam, there was very high coherence to the whole affair. Now we're in a different era, and what we have now is more of a flooded Banda Aceh (sorry) of writers all linking and writing about a disconnected cacophany of topics.

My overall blogosphere goal is to find good worthwhile writing to read. Dashing out my own thoughts on things is entirely secondary; the great writers are paid the big bucks for a reason, and I'd rather be spending my time reading them than trying to come up with something clever myself. But it's gotten more difficult.

My own contribution to improving the signal-to-noise ratio is going to be less frequent posting. I'd like to link only to things that are truly remarkable. I'm also trying to find more intelligent ways to find good material online. I want to be spending a lot less time in front of the computer and getting back to more of the "old-school" paper and ink reading I used to do, among many other things. So I want to try to figure out how to maximize my "bang for the buck" when it comes to online time.

I'd be interested in knowing if any of you have a method that you use to quickly (without wading through a bunch of blog posts) home in on where the interesting reads of the day are.

For instance, I found the above article using the BlogPulse top links of the day feature. BTW, BlogPulse also has an advanced search feature to find who is linking to you. At first, it returned every internal link on your own blog (for Blogger-based blogs this would be one for every post you make), rendering it quite useless. So I e-mailed tech support and they fixed it! Now it works quite nicely...

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