In order to stay informed for work, I subscribe to RSS feeds of tech news sites like Mashable, GigaOm, ReadWriteWeb, and TechCrunch. During the week, when these sites are churning out mass amounts of content to please advertisers and attract readers, I can barely keep up with my required reading.
Posts are short and to-the-point, but the editors post so frequently! Many of these sites report the same news, but I keep my subscriptions because I fear I’ll miss something otherwise. I am like a baby in a topless bar, completely overwhelmed by too much of what’s necessary.
I also subscribe to blogs like Feld Thoughts, Tweetage Wasteland, and Rough Type, which are updated by a single writer. They aren’t updated as regularly, but the posts are usually longer, more detailed, and very involved. In addition, they contain strong opinions by educated people who are passionate about the subject matter.
I get excited about new blog posts because these personal blogs are not updated as frequently. Also, the writing usually has more personality, and the content is very insightful. Reading the big news sites is more a burden than a pleasure. I have to schedule time to keep up with the information overload.
I sometimes ask myself: could I do away with reading big news sites and stick to opinion sites and blogs? Would I become a biased reader?
In essence, the difference between news sites and blogs is like the difference between reading the majority of The New York Times and just reading the Times opinion section. If I only read the opinion section, I would still learn a lot about current events and the world. In the opinion section, the opinion writers still touch on and respond to current events.
Paying more attention to the things that people choose to respond to could be a huge time saver. Do I really need to know everything else? Is following the Twitter streams of big news sites enough to keep me well informed?
(Photo by TedsBlog)
I subscribe mostly to blogs, but what keeps me from guzzling the Kool-Aid are the links to traditional news reports and original sources.
For example, CUNY J-school’s Jeff Jarvis recently blogged about FTC draft policy on “reinventing” journalism. Thankfully, he linked to the original FTC document, which shed a lot of light on Jarvis’s biases.
If I had digested the story based on Jarvis’s post alone, I would have missed some of the FTC document’s finer points.