Welcome to those of you who’ve arrived here via a link from Paul Stacey’s latest column. Most of us with an interest in weblogs, RSS and nearby environs have experienced a “Eureka moment” (or several) similar to what Stacey describes:
That evening I was catching a Translink bus from downtown Vancouver out to White Rock where I live, and by chance had nothing to read on the hour long ride. In the absence of a book or a newspaper I turned on my laptop and opened up the Amphetadesk aggregator. Wow! For the next hour I lost myself in a smorgasbord of ideas, notes, and discoveries as I checked out the rich musings of the educational technology weblogs I had downloaded.
Of course on the bus I’m off-line and can’t explore embedded follow-on links for more information. But still I was blown away. Collectively the blogs filter news and developments in my domain. More importantly they provide thoughtful commentary, alternative views, interpretation, and additional facts. I enjoyed the camaraderie of the weblog community, the astute observations, the readiness to share.
I delighted in the character and personality of each weblog and began to select ones I wanted to track on an ongoing basis. I wanted to know more about each of the writers.
Stacey points to an underappreciated (by me, at least) benefit of using an RSS aggregator. I tend to think of NetNewsWire as an extension of my web browser, one that dramatically increases the speed and capacity of my personal information processing. What I often forget is how useful the aggregator functions as something of a buffer or short-term personal archive of my favorite online destinations. Like Stacey, I’ve often found the summary of all my subscribed feeds to be a useful resource when my laptop is offline. It’s great on the bus, at the airport, waiting for a meeting to start (or end)… perhaps dangerous sitting at a tavern waiting for a friend.