Help me scour the Internet for goodness.
November 14, 2010 6:04 PM   Subscribe

How do I get out of the habit of reading the same websites day in and day out? I need a strategy.

I was about to ask for recommendations for some cool/favorite websites, then realized that I need to do something more drastic than that. I need to break my internet inertia.

What do you do to regularly explore new/cool/interesting websites? Or even standard old websites that are not necessarily cool and hip but pertain to your relevant interests?

I use StumbleUpon but that seems very hit or miss and quite random. I know (or however you spell it) is popular for this sort of thing...but it seems rather chaotic to me; maybe some pointers there? Similarly I'm trying to use RSS via Google Reader, but rather than organize things it seems more trouble than it's worth--especially when I need to leave Reader to go to the site's article anyway.

I suppose a follow up would be how I can organize all my discoveries effectively, rather than just a big long unwieldy list of bookmarks.

How do you explore?
posted by zardoz to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
I don't. I count on my social network to discover new things. If something bubbles to Facebook / Twitter among a few friends, or makes it to a FPP on Mefi, it'll catch my attention and I'll look into it. If it doesn't I probably have not missed anything.
posted by COD at 6:21 PM on November 14, 2010

Initially I took my unwieldy bookmarks and made category folders - Daily, Weekly, Sometimes, Monthly. But after a while those started getting too large as well. Then after thinking about how much time was spent on the dailies I split it up into individual days of the week (with must-read things like MeFi staying in the Daily folder.) There were quite a few sites that I couldn't justify getting lost in seven days a week.

Now I just middle-click the current day's folder (and Daily) and limit myself to those sites on that day. Combined with the Workrave timer accessory it's helped me make better (or at least more varied) use of my browsing time.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 6:31 PM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I usually find new sites I like in links from comments, well, here, and at other sites I like. I tend to stick with sites I read for a quite a while, but do find I don't really enjoy some sites after a while. Some from personal growth, some from sites that stop being worth reading.
posted by bartonlong at 6:40 PM on November 14, 2010

Best answer: Get on twitter and follow people who have similar interests to you--they'll post links to websites you may find worthy of adding to Google Reader. Also try utilizing the "Explore" feature in Reader. In my experience, only a small subset of websites/blogs actually truncate their RSS feeds.
posted by Kifer85 at 6:41 PM on November 14, 2010

Best answer: Instead of vanilla Google Reader for RSS, try the Firefox plugin Feedly. It turns all your RSS feeds into a 'magazine format' that is absurdly easy to browse.
posted by Paragon at 6:50 PM on November 14, 2010 [4 favorites]

Best answer: 1. Particularly when reading weblogs, find their blogrolls and visit some of those sites.
2. The Internet Scout
3. Arts and Letters Daily
posted by megatherium at 7:10 PM on November 14, 2010

Best answer: I use netvibes RSS reader. Rssvoyager(I think) is great too. I had tons of trouble finding or staying up with the sitesI read I would completely forget a site, not know where I bookmarked it or not know what i titled it. I'm not businesslike about my organization but it works. I'll send you the link to my netvibes and there you can see what I read...
or I put funny stuff on my tumblr:
Just jokey/weird. Nothing more...
posted by femmme at 8:25 PM on November 14, 2010

Seconding Arts and Letters Daily.
posted by smokingmonkey at 8:56 PM on November 14, 2010

I'm seconding netvibes for keeping my favorite blogs on RSS feeds as opposed to using bookmarks. I can more easily control what I want to see and delete these feeds than remember to go to my bookmarks and delete. I can see who posted new and ignore items that don't look interesting. No need to click on every bookmark every day to see what's new. Loving netvibes.
As for finding new blogs, I just look at who my favorite bloggers like and link to and check them out.
posted by LilBit at 9:13 PM on November 14, 2010

You're asking this question on the site that I've found to be the best site for finding new websites, so, what more do you want??? :)

Anyhow, Reddit is a lower-quality but higher-volume alternative to MetaFilter. Take the time to go through the list of subreddits and add ones relevant to your interests to your Reddit front page and then your front page will always have some interesting stuff on it that other Redditors have voted up.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:38 PM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

StumbleUpon is pretty hit-or-miss now because of how huge it is. Back in the first year it was made, it was pretty much a filter for quality content on the Internet. Now it seems to be just a random jump-about-the-Internet thing, not surprising since a lot of a people are looking to game it like Digg.

Arts & Letters Daily is always a good recommendation. It does have a fixed list of websites it aggregates from, but if you need something to read that's new and intelligent, I don't think there's a better place for it.

One more good idea is to check the "Recommended" section of whatever RSS reader you use (I know Google Reader has one). It works especially well with webcomics, I've seen.

Seconding the follow Twitter recommendation - even if you don't have a Twitter yourself.

When it comes to instant stuff though, I gotta stick to StumbleUpon. Try stumbling via individual topics, or update your list of topics.
posted by Senza Volto at 11:07 PM on November 14, 2010

What worked perfectly for me (I went through this same thing) was setting up a feed reader. I use google. They have bundles and recommendations and make it easy to find new sites. Then, as you're reading sites, add new sites and more new sites, add all the sites those sites point to, set up good folders and tags. Find people to follow, and you'll find more sites, share your favorites and people will find you and share... and so on. I have 571 feeds in there and read like crazy.
posted by Blake at 6:13 AM on November 15, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, all. I had seen Arts and Letters Daily a few times, but never paid attention to the links on the left-hand side. Goldmine! Also the "Explore" bit on Google Reader seems interesting. I'm still not sold on RSS readers, but I'll keep trying.
posted by zardoz at 6:03 PM on November 15, 2010

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