Elevating Your Online Media Diet: How to Find the Good Stuff in a Sea of Mediocrity


April 9, 2011 , ,

As serious bloggers, we are called upon by our profession, such as it is, to stay up-to-date on the latest goings-on in both the online and offline spheres. Whether it’s reading good hard news articles, industry updates, opinion editorials, or just other respected bloggers’ output, we bloggers must ensure that we know what we’re talking about when we blog. To be informed about everything is now, with the Web 2.0, pretty much impossible, but trying our best is simply good practice for our work. However, as you probably already know, finding the good stuff in a morass of not-so-great stuff can be difficult, and your average Joe Blog out there isn’t always the best source. Here are a few tips for enhancing your online media diet.

1. Instead of trying to rifle through several online newspapers, try aggregators instead.

When I first started reading newspapers exclusively online, I spent more time than I had hoped to on simply trying to review all the main articles on several English language publications. Then I found the miracle of aggregators. A couple of good ones are The Browser.com, which picks "best of the web" magazine and news articles as well as more op-den, essay-length stuff. Newsier.com is also good in that it provides short summaries for all the top news stories, while linking to the main article if you want to read more.

2. Use alternative search engines.

Don’t get me wrong, Google is arguably great, and it’s not going away anytime soon. At the same time, however, there are other search engines out there that are easier to use if you want to get some serious reading done online. While it’s not great for everything, Blekko.com, with its focused, authoritative slash tag system, is a really great start if you want to try other search engines.

3. Talk to other bloggers whom you admire and ask them what they read.

Just as we did back in the day when people actually read books, we also asked other readers for recommendations. Find out what it is that bloggers in your niche and industry are talking about. Blog rolls aren’t just a promotional tool; they also work as bookshelves do in the "real" offline world.

4. Go offline in your reading, too.

I know this sounds terribly old-fashioned, but it there are a lot of great stuff in print that you won’t necessarily be able to find online, unless you fork out some money. Dead tree newspapers are somewhat useless (unless one is required for online access like the recent New York Times), but there are tons of magazines, industry journals, and yes, even books, about blogging, the Internet, and more, whose content is only partially available online. Either find your favourites and pay for access, or subscribe to print. Trust me, it’s worth it.


11 thoughts on “Elevating Your Online Media Diet: How to Find the Good Stuff in a Sea of Mediocrity”
  1. This is great stuff from Alvina, Gary. I agree with her. We should not limit ourselves when it comes to the materials that we read, so we can get more information. Being broad about the stuff we read will result in our learning more than if we place limitations on ourselves.

  2. Nice read Alvina. I like the point about offline reading as these days we just don’t printed stuffs anymore.

    We should not limit ourself while seeking information.

    Thanks Gary for sharing this post 🙂

  3. Hi Alvina,

    Recently I have been reading one of Seth Godin’s book and it provided me a multitude of ideas. It is always better to sometimes go offline and look for stuff that is not online. It opens up our mind.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. I agree as well. Limiting ourselves can be so…limiting. Oftentimes there is something that you just can’t find online, and having access to even more information in the long run will serve us as bloggers to be in the habit of always searching, always being informed of other things.

    Also, there is a certain advantage and benefit of being one of the first to make something available online.


  5. Great post. My online media diet…interesting! I think I have tried out each and everything as mentioned above and I am particularly impressed with aggregators. It as certainly helped me out like anything in recent times by providing me necessary topics to research for my blogging. Other than these aggregators, I have been making use of online news services like google news for my content research. It has really worked out well for me.

  6. Google reader is a must have for a web 2.0 guy, so that he/she can have the favourite blogs whenever time permits

  7. Nice post. Definitely got some good information out of it. I especially liked what you said about finding websites that serve to aggregate articles from other major publications. This is definitely a good time-saving tip to keep in mind. When I look for articles to tweet about or post on FB, websites like those you mentioned definitely come in handy as a way to cut the…well, you know…and quickly uncover the relevant articles you’re genuinely interested in.

  8. I am also a more traditional reader, let’s say, and i rather get the information I need from printed media. I am most of the time in front of my PC, so at least reading a book, a magazine or a newspaper should be an “offline experience”…doesn’t it?

  9. Hi Alvina,
    These sure are quite some thoughts to ponder about. I agree with you that Google is a great search engine, but of course there are other people in the world who look into other search engines. I’ll check out Blekko.com. Thanks for recommending it.

  10. Loved the last point! There is so much valuable information in books and even magazines!


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