Blogrolls and News Aggregation
Blogrolls are both an asset and a social minefield. In principle, they are simply an additional online resource, hopefully offering readers links to further material they may find of interest. However, they can also be regarded as popularity contests or an exercise in mutual backslapping among blogging peers. I’m also not too sure of the appropriate internet etiquette associated with them. Sometimes bloggers feel snubbed if they find that their site is absent from their colleague’s blogroll. Also, if someone lists your site on their blogroll are you obliged to reciprocate? Because of these reasons and the simple fact that my current website template does not utilise a sidebar, which is the traditional location for a blogroll, I have stopped maintaining one on Contains Moderate Peril.
A few years ago, I set up an aggregation website called The Gaming Blog Nexus and it proved a more practical means of curating other people’s blog content. It was a popular and successful resource but like most online projects it was subject to increasing operational costs. After two and a half years I decided to close the site, which at the time listed over one hundred and twenty gaming related blogs. Although I do not regret my decision as I do not have unlimited funding for my online projects, I do miss its practical benefits. It was a straightforward and convenient way to keep abreast of websites and blogs that I enjoy. I was hoping after the closure of The Gaming Blog Nexus that someone else would create something similar. To date no one has.
At present, I’m using Feedly for my news aggregation. It works well across multiple platforms, although I do find the mobile version I have on my Samsung S6 to be the most convenient and streamlined. The Android app allows the user to clearly scroll through summaries of new content quickly and efficiently and decide whether to read or delete. So far, it is the most practical means of managing all the new articles I wish to read. It’s a great service that I will happily recommend to others. However, there is one minor point that concerns me. I started using Feedly after Google Reader shutdown in 2013. It made me very aware of our increasing dependency on “free” apps and services. There is always the possibility that Feedly may similarly vanish at some point in the future.
There are many tools that help you manage the flow of information. I find Microsoft Outlook invaluable for managing my daily emails. I have multiple accounts and several calendars to contend with and Outlook provides all the functionality I need to stay on top of things. For me it is the de facto tool for the job. Yet I’ve still to find a similar program or online resource that allows me to manage the websites I subscribe to as effectively. Google Reader, Feedly and Blogrolls are a good starting point and allow you to segregate the content you want from the usual internet white noise. Yet I can’t help feeling there’s scope for something else that can not only curate your favourite content but learns your likes and dislikes and suggest comparable material. So, I’ll keep looking. If I find such a service I no doubt blog about it.