Tips for Diversifying Your Blog Subscriptions

The best blog posts, for me, are those that make me STOP, reflect, ponder and challenge my own viewpoints!

Take Claire Thompson “How to turn “Me Vision Into We Vision” post where she discusses the need to ensure we don’t limit our learning by getting sucked into group thinking — by restricting our blog reading and interactions to people who think the same way that we do.

There is Need For Some Repetition

My belief is you do need a balance; and there is a need for a certain amount of repetition since sometimes the same thing needs to be said several ways for you to pay attention.

Claire’s “How to turn “Me Vision Into We Vision” post is a classic example of this! The links she provided I had read! But I hadn’t paid enough attention. I had read David Warlick’s Ethan Zuckerman and The Internet is NOT FLAT… post and Michele Martin’s Living in a Blogging Box and How to Get Out of It. Meant to write a comment on Michele’s post as I was laughing soooo much about her FINALLY replacing NetVibes with Google Reader πŸ™‚ .

My Tips For Diversifying Blog Subscriptions and Interactions

There a quite a few effective ways that you can ensure your readings are more diversified without going into information overload with the minimal amount of work!

1. Google Reader

Google has linked Reader with Google Talk so now all your shared items will be visible to your friends from Google Talk, and vice versa. My friends all share radically different posts — all far removed from the types of posts I would normally read.

2. Tweetscan

I’m soooo in love with Tweetscan! So simple! And so great at providing excellent links. Enter the search term, add the RSS to your Feed Reader e.g. Google Reader and you are notified whenever anyone twitters anything using that search term.

How to use Tweetscan

3. Technorati Tags and Google Blog Search Tags

Subscribing to Technorati and Google Blog Search tags is a good way of finding posts on specific topics. I’ve found it a great way to locate new blogs but you do need to accept a certain amount of skimming reading to weed the good from the bad.

Be WARNED: Technorati doesn’t recognise e-learning or m-learning as a search term — it will grab posts that contain the word learning. Instead make sure you use elearning and mlearning. Read more about using Technorati here!

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Technorati and Google Blog Search will give you different results for the same tag term — which is why I subscribe to both.

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4. Google Alerts

Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. Really simple to use. Search is wider than blog search as it also searches news sources and the web.

5. Twitter

Many people are now relying solely on twitter to provide them with links to articles worth reading; which I think is a shame as there is a definite risk of group thinking if you’re not careful especially if you have only like minded people within your network e.g. educators only. Personally I like a mixture in my twitter network; educators, non-profits, web designers, programmers.

6. Better Blog Community

My involvement with the 31 Day Blogging Project expanded my interaction with bloggers other than educators. The Better Blog Community was established as a result of this project and is an excellent way of finding/interacting with bloggers outside your niche area.

FINAL THOUGHT

It’s late! Got my first day back with students in the morning…. So will be in trouble if I don’t get some sleep.

Would love to hear your thoughts on balance — how do we achieve enough of the same but ensuring sufficient diversity without getting information overload? What works best for you?

UPDATE

Was so tired last night I gave this post the title “Tips for diversifying your blog subscriptions”. Then this morning changed it to “Tips for Minimising Group Thinking”. Now changed it back as people had already linked to the original title. ROFL as still really tired and can’t make up my mind on a good title – so please choose your own!

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6 thoughts on “Tips for Diversifying Your Blog Subscriptions

  1. Hi…these are all excellent points! Diversification is good; there is so much to read and very little time to do it. To help with absorbing large amount of information quickly and without being lost in unnecessary details you may want to try instant web page summarization tools. One of them is Context Organizer from http://www.contextdiscovery.com. At a click of the button it instantly finds the most significant content on web pages, in Google search results and in office documents. It is a simple add-in to web browsers. If you were to try it out I would love to hear from you.
    Henry

    Henry Lewkowicz Reply

  2. Thanks for the post! I found that only reading edtech blogs was putting me in a really narrow state of thinking, so I’m now reading some blogs that appealt to the mom and book lover in me. This helps my blog reading not seem so much like work on tough days πŸ™‚ Thanks again for all the useful tips! Oh, and i love tweetscan.

    Kate Olson Reply

  3. i agree Sue.

    Recently i started searching for writers outside the edublog-o-dome, reading more widely in political and social fields. Has been fascinating, although now of course i have far too much to read, and could spend several days tracking each daily load.

    michael

    i like that google reader provides an RSS feed for your starred items too, so you can share that out (or re-publish it next to your blog somewhere).

    (PS, interesting that in blogger, you can change the post title after publishing, but your URL stays the same as the original title.)

    michael chalk Reply

  4. Thanks Henry for telling us about Context Discovery.

    Michele — I’m still laughing and think this is now a true win for the Google Reader vs NetVibes debate — as it indicates I WON!

    Glad you liked the tips Kate — and what can I say about Tweetscan. It’s so good.

    Hi Michael – yes definitely a problem that we can end up trying to read too much. I also would like the starred and shared item if I could easily add it to my blog πŸ™ . Doesn’t blogger provide you with the ability to change the URL?

    Sue Waters Reply

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