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…
I 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.