How do people on the Blue do it?
November 4, 2008 6:50 PM   Subscribe

How do people find new and interesting links on the Web?

Every day, I read Metafilter, Boing Boing, kottke, etc. These sites all have links that I see for the first time on these sites.

Now, I know kottke and Boing Boing have users sending them links. But, my question is: how do these normal people find these links? Are there special techniques or things I'm not doing that helps others find new and interesting stuff whilst I view the fruits of their labor?

I guess what I'm asking is how people search for subjects and find new and undiscovered information about those subjects?
posted by reenum to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
posted by purephase at 6:57 PM on November 4, 2008

Every now and again, I do searches for digitization projects in my academic specialty (19th-c. British literature and culture), in the course of which I always find Very Cool Things. Very focused searches on a particular topic may yield paradoxically wide-ranging results.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:58 PM on November 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I follow tags on topics I like. I find a lot of "breaking" links this way. For example: - there's a lot of noise, but that's how you find the good stuff.'s "popular" pages are also good and keep you ahead of most. For example: Also.. reddit/new is a good source. Digg Upcoming be interesting. If you follow a lot of people on Twitter, that can be an awesome source too. Stumbleupon can also be fine, but you get a mix of old and new stuff I find - a lot of cool stuff I find on StumbleUpon was found by people ages ago.

I consider most of the above to be primary sources to some extent. Sites like Kottke and Boing Boing are slower and more reactive from my POV - principally because they're not automated. It makes them higher quality, more focused, but.. slower.
posted by wackybrit at 7:23 PM on November 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In case it wasn't clear, you can change the tags in the above URLs to find things on topics you'd rather look up. Examples:
Or even !
posted by wackybrit at 7:25 PM on November 4, 2008

Best answer: Google Alerts on topics of interest occasionally yield FPP gold, too.
posted by flabdablet at 7:31 PM on November 4, 2008

I find that FriendFeed is a great source of interesting stuff, and subscribe to a few dozen blogs that I can blast through quickly with Google Reader.

Also, many of the memes you see making their way around the Web originate on message forums with huge membership bases such as SA.
posted by tomorama at 7:36 PM on November 4, 2008

Best answer: I sometimes go "backwards", in that I'll start with something I read in a book or magazine, (Fortean Times is a favorite) then check out what kind of web content there is on the subject. This seems to work reasonably well with "anomalous" subjects.

I like to surf Flickr groups, and people's contacts within Flickr. That way you can make quick "filtrations" of huge amounts of visual information. There are a boat-load of unusual but worthwhile groups on Flickr.

There is even this crazy technique of observing things and events in "the real world", then finding out if there is web content about it.

I need to do this more, but one weird technique is to simply google two unrelated terms together; usually one will be something abstract, and one concrete. Who knows what websites will arise of you google "extemporaneous" and "pesticide"... I think I learned this technique from Cliff Pickover.
posted by Tube at 12:59 AM on November 5, 2008

Very focused searches on a particular topic may yield paradoxically wide-ranging results.

Definitely. That's how I find interesting stuff. I google a particular topic, and keep trying different search terms, refining and tacking successive searches depending on the results or earlier ones.
posted by orange swan at 8:45 AM on November 5, 2008

I steal liberally from Arts and Letters Daily.
posted by plexi at 7:46 AM on November 18, 2008

Find one blog you like, and subscribe to it. When that blog links to something on another blog, give the linked blog a skim. If you like it, subscribe to its RSS feed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

It can snowball pretty quickly, so unless you want to deal with a million blog posts a day, you'll learn to trim it down to what you're really interested in. The more specialized the blogs' focus, the better; not only will you have less to sift through, but you'll tend to find the more in-depth, substantive stuff on those blogs to be much more satisfying.

StumbleUpon can be good for the random stuff, but it can get to be rather a) addictive, b) repetitive, and c) dodgy. I'd suggest surfing Wikipedia as a suitable substitute.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:51 AM on November 18, 2008

I go to every morning for my daily dose of interesting stories/news.
posted by jmmpangaea at 12:33 PM on November 24, 2008

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