Adventures in Aggregating

I have an embarrassing confession to make: I don’t use any sort of aggregator.  I just sit at my computer and type in the web sites and blogs which I typically visit as the mood strikes.  I realize that this is terribly inefficient, but to be honest I don’t really enjoy spending too much of my free time on the computer.  When I’ve been on it all day for work/school, I prefer to get out of the house and move around.

However, I realize that I will need to aggregate in my future career so I decided to give two aggregators a try.  To start myself off I got a Symbaloo account.  Here are some of the things I enjoyed most about it:

  • It was easy to set up and figure out – Intuitive software is a major selling point for me. If I have to spend hours trying to figure out software, I’m probably not going to use it
  • It allowed for tidy organization – I appreciate the large colour coordinated building blocks on the front page, especially when first gathering and sorting sites
  • Not too cluttered – I appreciated how the desktop and news feed were separated from one another by tabs.  It can be both overwhelming to be greeted by cluttered newsfeeds every time you log in and I also find it distracting if I am trying to do something quickly and am trying not get drawn in

I also took a look at Netvibes for comparative purposes:

  • I liked that you are able to mark to content to read later. I don’t know how much time I would spend going back and reading old stories but it is a nice feature to have
  • More scan-able interface than Symbaloo – don’t have to go to the website to decide if I’m interested in the content
  • Not as intuitive to first move around as Symbaloo, but still simple enough that I had no problem using it
  • As an aside, I found the pre-installed BMW widget somewhat amusing. I wonder how many people are actually interested in BMW news (yes I know they probably paid lots of money to get themselves up there)

Even though Symbaloo seemed a little easier to navigate initially, I think I might go with Netvibes since it seems a bit more customizable and has some interesting features. And if I don’t like it I have no shortage of other options…

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