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"Nothing enhances a marketer's credibility like the willingness to occasionally slag himself, or praise a competitors' product over his own company's.
CNET has posted a cool video tutorial on RSS. Great to send your friends and coworkers who are wondering about what RSS is.
Update: Dave Winer is asking "where's the credit?"
I pushed about 100 more items to my linkblog. I don't know if that's valuable for anyone else, but it sure is valuable for me. It's forcing me to keep up with the blogosphere and boy is there a lot being published lately. By reading all my feeds every night, I'm keeping up with a whole bunch of things that I normally wouldn't have heard about.
Anyway, there is a point to this whole blog post. How do you keep up with the torrent of information flooding the blogosphere?
This is a proposal for a BloggerCon session on "Information Overload" that Dave Winer asked me to put together.
I see a day coming when I'll have 10,000 feeds instead of 915. Actually, the number of bloggers I read is much higher than 915 thanks to group blogs and services like Feedster, Pubsub, and Technorati.
BloggerCon is for people who are actually writing blogs, so I'm trying to get in the shoes of a "normal" blogger, if such a thing exists.
Most "normal" bloggers don't even use an RSS News Aggregator yet. Assuming that each blog has an average of five readers, that means there's 20 million people out there reading blogs. Are there 20 million people using RSS News Aggregators? Not even close.
So, those of us who are reading lots of RSS feeds are ahead of the curve. What are we learning? How are we becoming more efficient so we can keep up?
Someone asked me the other day "why don't you just build a few search queries and delete the rest of your feeds?" I thought about it, but I enjoy the random weird stuff that people blog about. Search queries will only bring back the equivilent of purified sugar. Sweet, yes, but not that nutritious.
It's why I keep the link blog. It helps me think about everyone of the approximately 3000 items that cross my Tablet PC's screen every evening. "Is this something my readers need to know or would like to know?" I ask myself.
Watching that many feeds I've found ways to become more efficient. But I'm not efficient enough, so I want to talk with other people who are news junkies about how they consume large amounts of content. I remember working the Associated Press wire machine in college. When OJ was found "not guilty" several hundred stories crossed my screen in just 30 minutes. How do you keep up with that kind of news flow and deliver something to your readers that's useful?
How do you keep your sanity?
Let's hone in on this before I have Dave tear it apart. What else would you like to discuss at a session about how to handle the information overload?
Oh, and we haven't even started thinking about the latest "podcasting" craze. It's impossible to listen to more than a few hours of audio or video every day (while you can read a LOT more text). This trend to audio blogging will make it far less likely that you'll consume content from a broad set of people.
So, to wrap it up, here's an outline:
1) Keeping up with feeds. State of the art in News Aggregators and more.
2) Services that'll help you find the best stuff. You know, Feedster, Pubsub, Technorati, etc.
3) Linkblogging discussion.
4) Keeping up with the audio and video blogs that are popping up faster than mushrooms in springtime.
5) What do we need for a future of 10,000 or more feeds per person?
If this doesn't sound interesting, let me know what you'd like to see discussed.
Want new icons for your Windows XP machine? Christopher Coulter sent me a killer site with a bunch of new icons.
Don't know how I missed this one, but Tim Bray really does have the best plums in his backyard, you know. Thanks for the compliments Tim for my son -- your kid is really cute too.
Mark that on your calendars for next year. Get an invite to Tim's house to try his plums. :-)
Speaking of Geek Dinners, Hilton Giesenow is planning one in Cape Town, South Africa (dang, I wish I had an unlimited travel budget so that I could go!) and he asked me in email for some tips. I said, let me answer that on my blog so everyone could benefit.
So, here's my Geek Dinner tips:
1) Get three people, other than yourself, to agree to go that lots of people know. I don't know why three is the magic number, but if you get three people, you'll have a rockin great dinner (usually when I get three names 20 to 40 people show up, if I only have two, 10 to 15 will). Even if only the four of you have dinner, it'll be a great time and everyone will think you're the world's best connector.
2) Have it in a place that everyone can afford. I hate getting invited to dinners at expensive places. It makes me uncomfortable, even if I can afford it. Try to have it at a place with a bunch of choices for $10 to $20. Even better, do it in a food court, like where we do it near Microsoft. That way if someone can't afford the dinner, or if they already ate somewhere else, they won't feel out of place just getting a Coke or something like that.
3) Have it in a place that can scale. What do I mean by that? Well, make sure that the place can handle 40 people as easily as four. Why? Because you never know who will show up. The dinner we held in San Francisco on Saturday night had about 15 people show up. I only knew about five beforehand. Food courts, or places with tables that can be put together, are best.
4) Make sure your "big names" move around and meet everyone. Remember, you can really only have a conversation with two to four other people at one time. People get jealous if one group gets to talk to the famous guy at the party all night long.
5) Name tags help, but aren't necessary. I haven't done them. I probably should, but I'm lazy.
6) Noise levels are something to consider. I don't like places with bands. We're there to talk, not listen to a concert or something like that.
Any other ideas?
I had dinner last week with Allen Searls and his boss, Matthew Koll. Yeah, Allen is Doc Searls' son!
He works at Wondir. It's a question-answering service. Very cool. You ask questions. Someone else answers them (or you can answer someone else's questions). Will they take on Google? I think it's even better. Here, try it -- this ticker points at the blogger specific questions:
There's a big geek dinner coming up on October 5. It's the East Site Weblogger Meetup (organized by Anita Rowland), but the MSN Search Team has a small group of bloggers and others who'll be on campus for a "Search Champs" event (Elizabeth Lawley blogs about her role in that) and I'll try to get a bunch to come on Tuesday night.
Yeah, I played a small role in the MSN Search Champs event. Sean Carver on the MSN Team took me to lunch one day and said he needed to get a small group of people together to show MSN's search plans to and get some feedback about what they were doing right or wrong. I sent him a list of a few bloggers. Not all big names, either. The trick here is to get diversity of people so that you get some interesting feedback.
About 30 people are in the program. I wish I could invite all 915 of the people I read, but obviously that isn't conducive to getting good feedback in a small group situation. I have a list, but I'd rather keep it quiet until next week.
Should be an interesting week next week.
I'm having a blast playing with the latest IE addons (see the comments on this post for a bunch of cool ones that readers here suggested).
Just thought I'd point to that post again because it generated so much great discussion.
Keith Hurwitz and I tried a little test tonight. He sent me an email protected with our digital rights management (restricted rights built into Outlook). I wanted to see if Kunal's OutlookMT tool would post it. It didn't. Test succeeded!
This is very cool to see, because a week or two back I accidentally posted some confidential email to my linkblog. Not good. But the fact that this works means that coworkers can send me protected email and know that it won't get on my linkblog even if I stupidly drag it to my "blog this" folder.