Jumpin’ The Fence

I really enjoy catching up on the 100 or so feeds that I track. I also really, really enjoy a handful of feeds that are just personal favorites of mine. To use a semi-contrived analogy: every day I take a walk through my RSS neighborhood. I visit the same places. Some I pass by without stopping in because I care less about them (or I’ll get to them later). Others I run to if I find out anything new is going on.Then there’s the destinations that have a 24 hour-a-day house party. 50-100 updates occurring every day (e.g. Engadget and Gizmodo). All things considered though, its an enjoyable excursion. I genuinely like catching up.

But here’s the problem…

http://files.turbosquid.com/Preview/Content_on_12_7_2003_18_47_26/ts_fence_ag_09.jpg87c5873b-b579-44c5-aa30-3e9c182a1bdc.jpgLarge.jpgI never leave this neighborhood. I find myself constantly strolling around the same streets and avenues, listening in on the same voices over and over again. Yes, on occasion some one moves in (i.e. I subscribe to a new blog or news source) but generally speaking, I don’t venture out much. My reading list is walling me in and I’m starting to become more and more conscious of that.

On the flip side of all this, basement.org is a destination itself. I’m fully convinced that there are many out there that would enjoy reading some of the posts on here but really have no way of finding out about them. Of course, there many tips on how to better promote your blog, but the reality is what it is: the democratic nature of the Internet is still limited to logistical realities. A user can only stumble on so much that is new. Instead, we visit the same places – over and over and over again.

So how can we better venture out to other neighborhoods on the Web? There are many ways. Social bookmarking and voting sites like del.icio.us and Digg and Stumble Upon help to an extent, and the occasional discovery after a few searches can help, but generally speaking, it’s hard to leave. It takes energy and you have to wade through a lot of junk to find something worthwhile elsewhere.

Then there’s the elite neighborhoods. The gated community that has your “A-List bloggers” that you’ll often find loitering in Technorati’s top 100. It’s a weird, oddly segregated place where some very influential people (whether deservedly so or not) somehow set the tone for the blogging world on a regular basis. Weird.

I’m going to make more of a conscious effort to venture elsewhere – somehow. I’ll share any tricks or ideas that help me along (if I find any). If I get lost, there’s always the express back to the same old place. For now, getting lost sounds pretty good.

4 Comments Jumpin’ The Fence

  1. André Brocatus

    I find that clicking on (Via…) links brings you to unexpected new interesting places, as does actually exploring the blogroll on your favorite sites. And: ask your friends and colleages what blogs/ sites they read every day. In a very literal sense it’s all a question of expanding your network.

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  2. Jeremy Graston

    One of the ways I ‘jump the fence’ is through magazine reading. Rags like Dwell, Climbing, Velo News, MAKE, and The Economist have a ton of advertising and content with relevant and interesting links embedded in their printed pages. I’ve also found the really good art sites such as SHIFT magazine pointing in me in directions I would have never found on my own.

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  3. Adam Bramwell

    You make a really good point, as web browsing is something we all spend hours doing, doesn’t it make sense to try and maximise it?
    Digital-Web made a good post about this, how feeds get cleared every year to enable fresh subscriptions.
    Acknowledging the blogger life cycle, the challenge is of course to find the up and coming bloggers while their eyes and minds are still wide open and their blog reflects this with originality. Because when they get hired by Apple / Google / Yahoo, their lives inevitably get more focused and their bloggling dwindles.
    Examples of this are Dunstan before Apple, Aaron Boodman and Doug Bowman before Google.There are of course anomalies to this, but another indication of a plateau is becoming experienced enough to have authored a book!!
    All I can say is hooray for gReader’s ‘next’ bookmarklet.

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  4. Bob

    I found you on a netvibes universe.
    I think planets are an interesting way of finding new feeds especially individual blogs and they are very popular in the open source community.
    My main RSS is about 75 feeds on Google Reader but as you say there are certain high volume sites that swamp you if you miss a few days,
    I think what I will do in future is keep the big news feeds such as BBC/TheInquirer/TheRegister on netvibes where I can take it or leave it like a daily newspaper…and then use GR for opinion and smaller blogs where I care more about missing a story,

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