On news feeds and link sharing

Lately I have tried to become more systematic in the way I use and process the vast amount of information that is available on the web.  I realized some time ago that it isn't enough to rely on chance and occasional browsing to pick through that information, but to depend on bookmarking and storing of newsfeeds.   One obvious illustration of the necessity of newsfeeds is that most newspapers do not keep yesterday's news on their homepages.  So if you miss a day, important articles have already been buried.  But by subscribing to the newspaper in an rss reader, the articles are still easy to find a few days later.

Recently I have read articles that advise abandoning newsfeeds and relying on Twitter.  That doesn't work for me - Twitter is too intense.  But, on the other hand, I have found that Twitter offers a way to serve up its content also through RSS, and that's a lot better.  By doing a Twitter search on a certain term, I can then store that search in my newsfeed aggregator.  That way, I will never miss a Tweet on that term.  A variation on this is to use the search engine Socialmention, which checks other microblogs and media sources too.

I use Flock browser, with its built in aggregator to collect my newsfeeds.  As with Google Reader and other aggregators, it's possible to create folders, such as "technology" or "politics", place the relevant sources in those folders, then see all the stories in a mashed up stream.

I have also been considering, once again, about how best to share links to stories I find interesting.  I want to share them across various networks without making a separate share for each network and, preferably, without duplicating stories.  That means adopting a relay system, and this never works in an optimal way.

Today I decided that old and trustworthy Delicious just might have the best way of doing this.  There are a few advantages.

1. It has a very large user base.
2. Many other services allow import to and export from Delicious.
3. The service happens to be built in to my Flock browser again, allowing synchronization between local and remote bookmarks.
4. Delicious has some neat features: its simple tag organization, the fact that it tells you how many other people have posted links for the same article, and the ability to find other readers interested in the same subjects.

When I post to Delicious, the post is picked up by Facebook, and placed in my news feed.  The same happens with Twitter. Both of these are relayed through FriendFeed.  Delicious also has a feature that collects all links from a certain day and makes a blog post of these.  I will see how this works.  The only odd-man out of my social networking constellation now is Twine - a topic-based network that I very much like.  Twine recently started to allow import of bookmarks to its service, but I haven't tried this yet.  It would be better still if it permitted import of links via one of the other services, rather than the extra effort of re-linking every story through its browser bookmarklet.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

ma.gnolia wiltdown

A while ago I wrote how a beta service I'd tried suddenly died.  This week the geek-niche social bookmarking site Ma.gnolia reported a loss of all its data.  Users came to know about the existence of a certain Larry who, it turned out, had been running Ma.gnolia all along.  Larry came in to say sorry, but there was no backup.  He is doing what he can to recuperate data - but it sounds as if the future of Ma.gnolia is now in doubt.  On the Ma.gnolia site, he is even suggesting that customers open an account at a competing service, diigo.

Fortunately, since I was using Flock browser to upload bookmarks to Ma.gnolia, these are all stored offline too.  I uploaded these to my old account at veteran social bookmarking site del.icio.us.  Just in case any were missing, I also uploaded all those that had been captured by friendfeed, too.  The lesson to be learned from all this is that if one is storing data online, to be careful to store it in more than one place.

Blogged with the Flock Browser