How I Find Good Stuff on the Web

How I Find Good Stuff on the Web

One of the topics that came up while I was having lunch last week w/ Swissmiss was our systems for checking stuff out on the web. For me one of the ways of getting around using an rss feed reader which I deplore is to use tabs. For me I bookmark blogs and place them in folders in Firefox that then become tabs that I can open. What that means is that within a couple minutes I can open between 35 – 60 blogs and sites. In the past on DesignNotes I’ve gone over why I don’t like rss feed readers so I won’t bore you with the explanation aside from the fact that rss feed readers make reading blogs seem like a never ending chore. My tab method is as follows. I’ve named them M1, M1B, M2 etc… the M1 is a bunch of blogs that I check out quite often during the day and as the folder numbers progress the less I check them out. The last folder (M5) is for new blogs and sites that I’m checking out. It’s a test phase to see whether after a couple weeks if they’ll make the cut to be placed in one of the other folders.

Why bother reading blogs anyways? There’s a couple reasons for me, first off I want to learn what other people are observing and how they’re thinking – after all I want to take those ideas, make them better and implement them somehow soon. It’s also for content for Link Drop that I’ve been working on for the past couple of months. As the diagram notes, there’s a systematic flow to how I find sites for Link Drop and what I do with the other sites.

The main sources outside of my own tabs is from people mentioning stuff on twitter and from the occasional friend via IM. What has changed from a year or two is that I don’t find that much new stuff on flickr. One guess is that a lot of that content has migrated to FFFFFFFFFFFFound. Inside my tabs there’s very few sites that come from FFFFFFFFFFFFound and believe it or not – tumblr. While I don’t ignore some of the people that use those sites I try to stay from it as a crowd. They’re kind of like business marketing books – everyone is looking at them so the chances of finding something that is unique is diminished by the mass popularity of the services.

Do you have a different method of finding great stuff on the web that isn’t via rss feed readers?

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  • http://serialconsign.com Greg J. Smith

    “Why bother reading blogs anyways?” :)

    I hear you. I scan 8 times more blogs than I actually *read*. Interestingly enough, even with a turbo-charged RSS platform, I monitor about the same number of blogs as you. I wonder what the saturation point is? I've come across a few people tracking upwards of 8oo information sources.

    I've recently adapted my reading so that I do all my “scanning” on my touch and all my “reading” on my desktop newreader (they are synchronized). So sifting through content and flagging it for later scrutiny becomes a more leisurely affair – one conducted on an altogether different screen than reading.

    Some of the most interesting “commenters” that I've come across operate almost entirely via google keyword subscriptions. So they aren't even reading (the majority of their) blogs by “brand”, but by scanning all posts pertaining to specific topics. Kind of an interesting approach, but more for the info-mercenary than the networking self-publisher I suppose…

    I definitely agree about the value of delicious, I wouldn't trade my delicious network for anything.

    Nice post! Always great to see the sketchbook front and center. :)

  • http://lunchstudio.blogspot.com Yen

    How about a method that will show updated tabs in a browser format?

    The reason I use an rss feed is for the blogs of friends that rarely get updated but when they do I want to know about it. I don't like the lack of personality on an rss feed but I do like how it tells me when something new has been posted. Otherwise I would be clicking on all those sites everyday that have no new news.

    Am I missing some lovely piece of platform or program that would allow me to follow blogs in the way that I want to? What do you do?

    And I agree with Greg, really lovely to see sketchbook pages.

  • http://swisscheeseandbullets.com/ Daniel

    I'm a recent RSS convert, but I do miss reading posts in their native habitat. It seems a bit silly to read design blog posts with all the design stripped out!

    I kind of understand what you mean about Ffffound's self-perpetuating nature, but I wouldn't think of Tumblr in that way at all. To me it's just a super-basic blogging platform, not a self-contained community.

  • http://stickersanddonuts.com Stickers & Donuts

    I like this little sketch : ). Good tip about tabs. I have mixed feelings about RSS feeds, but it does help get a nice overview.

  • http://jonathanpberger.com/wp jonathanpberger

    > In the past on DesignNotes I’ve gone over why I don’t like rss feed readers


  • http://pristina.org felipe tofani

    i like digg and some design agregators like the ad feeds.

  • http://tedroden.com tedroden

    I've been finding things via http://enjoysthin.gs

    Sure, I made the site, but it's turning into a good place to find good things from my friends.

  • http://range.wordpress.com/ range

    I classify my feeds into different fields, that way I don't have to scan the “work” feeds when I read blog posts. I also follow quite a few blogs, about 300. Anything that I could use for work is starred for later perusal. If I find anything interesting, I post it on my blog. If it's a good site, I'll bookmark it. I read a few tumblr blogs, but not that many.

    I don't use IM unless I'm talking to my editor and I don't twitter. Each day, I'll read the nytimes business section online and check out some news/finances. I do that twice a day if I have time or just once at the end of the day.

    The rest of my time is spent writing posts for the blogs I work for.

  • http://www.id-o.de Florianb

    Try feedly it feels more like a magazine than a feed reader

  • Tess

    Great description of your blofsifting process! I really like your “Linkdrop” collection as well. My – not so systematic method – does include RSS feeds (through iGoogle), so I won't bother you with that.

    However, your post did start me thinking about the semantics of my ventures into the blogosphere – where do I go and why, how do I choose what to read and what not? Which is the hardest thing to me: decisions decisions. Here's what I came up with: I look for blog(post)s based on topics and the writers’ way of thinking. I look for ideas and simplicity. A certain kind of personality, that must shine through. Curiosity, inventiveness, and authenticity. Creativity and applicability. I look for original thoughts that I recognize, someone expressing something I have been looking for or thinking without knowing it, semi-consciously or fleeting. Things that inspire me.

    Hmmm.., reading back that sounds incredibly vague. I hope you'll take the compliment anyway!

    Best regards,

  • http://phome.us Peter Vidani

    I use phome.us to organize my blogs because rather than getting loads of information at their disposal, it just lets me know when they're updated and I can go there on my own time. Also, it encourages reading the blogs in context, which means I usually participate more in the comments (like this).

  • http://www.kitizaidimai.lt Dainius Blynas

    My technique is much more simple one. I dump everything into RSS reader (NNW) and the try to orient myself in that list. Sometimes unread counts grows to big (into 700-1000), but nothing scary.

  • http://jebdm.net Jebdm

    I do basically the same thing you do, except that instead of checking blogs directly I subscribe to them, on a trial basis, in my RSS reader (I hate having to deal with all the different site designs) and I either put links to read later in my Read It Later queue or immediately post them to my Tumblog (which I like for it's ease of use, though I'm trying to figure out how I want to do blogging long term). Longer posts go on my regular blog.

  • Mark M.

    Sorry that this is my first post here and I’m asking for something. But I have tried everything to get a invite to ffffound! So I am taking the chance that I do not irritate you or your readers with this request. Please if anybody can offer me an invite to fffound, I would truly appreciate it.

    By the way, great site added to my feed list

  • Mark M.

    Sorry that this is my first post here and I'm asking for something. But I have tried everything to get a invite to ffffound! So I am taking the chance that I do not irritate you or your readers with this request. Please if anybody can offer me an invite to fffound, I would truly appreciate it.

    By the way, great site added to my feed list

  • http://musicproductionofhoustonincorprorated.blogspot.com/ doc Pete

    You are an example of one who utilizes Higher Cortical Functions

    Thank you

  • http://musicproductionofhoustonincorprorated.blogspot.com/ doc Pete

    The other interesting thing is that higher cortical functioning requires reading comparing, assimilating, eliminating then applying. We are at the best and worst of times allowing and possibly disallowing this. The feedback to the individual that what they say is good for the world makes all the difference in the world. More feedback =
    more writing stroking, time given to a not so trivial support. It seems to me that delicious does the best at presenting the givers, RSS updates the givers and allows you to separate the takers then you have an opportunity to do what you want.

    Unfortunately the criminal gets to accuse those who have the cure for taking unless we not fight back but feedback like mindedness of giving, creating over taking and destroying in these last days.

  • http://chaosfarmer.wordpress.com/ matt

    I used to do that. Now I know better. If I get really bored and need something to do at work, i use del.icio.us's home page and just click on random links (thats how I find this) , but the whole RSS thing is just a a waste of time.



  • Michael

    What brand notebook is that???

  • http://designnotes.info/ michaelsurtees

    its from muji

  • http://mostplays.com games

    This article I so true, keep on writing like this, enjoyment to read :) 269

  • Anonymous

    Any type of ipod You Need. Anywhere You Go. Find Your mp3, cell phones .. etc Today.

  • tarunkrana

    Any type of ipod You Need. Anywhere You Go. Find Your mp3, cell phones .. etc Today.

  • girlfortythree

    i like to dig deep into search results and then randomly click as things look interesting. page 30 or page 14 of search page results… places so deep in the stack that i feel like most people don't go.

  • steve

    hi mike
    do you have an explanation of link drop?
    thanks steve

  • Nate Archer

    Michael, Curious how this has changed since you originally wrote this post? For some reason your approach has stuck in my head all these years, so I’m curious if it has worked over the long haul or you have tweaked it based on new input etc.