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.