Sunday, January 08, 2006

Aggregators, podcasts and shifting sands

I've moseyed along in my dinosaur manner while this technology has evolved and changed the way blogs work, sites are read, and in turn posts must be written. For example, I've recently figured that if the hook, the interesting bit, of your post starts a few lines down, you will probably be ignored by people who are only reading the first couple of lines on aggregators like Labor First's.

Also, font and other layout choices become appear a lot less relevant if, as I understand it, many people read your whole posts on their own sites, in standardised form.

I started a bloglines account, also one run by Google; so far they don't seem useful but I'm waiting to see if that changes when people write new posts.

Are feed readers a revolution, or at best an incremental development like that half-arsed blogrolling program?

And what of podcasting?

I am not persuaded this will tip blogging on its head, because my guess is that about 30-50% of blog reading is done by bored people at work (not something I'd do, of course!). So text has a silent advantage. But others are dabbling in it- are any of you? Is it useful, or just novel?


Texas R.H. said...

Yo' can mosey boy, but yo' gotta mosey right. Ah sees greenhorns from da east trying ter mosey an' laughs mah britches off. Ol' Clem tossed a rattler at one o' dese dudes and shoulda seen him mosey den!
Haw! Haw! Haw!


trix said...

I think you've thought about this a little too much :P

TimT said...

about 30-50% of blog reading is done by bored people at work (not something I'd do, of course!)

Oh, of course not.

I don't like this idea of aggregators and having blog posts 'mailed' out to other people. Format matters. One of the advantages of blogger and other blogging engines is that it gives you greater flexibility over how you present your writing, so that it becomes, in a way, like setting out a magazine. You can choose how many pictures to put in, where to put them, how to arrange the text, whether to use tables, etc, etc, etc.

I think a lot of blog-readers realise this and appreciate the effort a blogger puts into the format.

I shudder to think how posts like this one ( - quite brilliant, I think, in it's own way - would come out on one of these bloody 'aggregators'.

Tim said...

I used Bloglines for a few days, but I hated it. It didn't feel right for some reason, like video-conferencing with people I'd normally have visited in person. And, as TimT says (my there are a lot of Tims in blogland!), formatting can be an important factor.

I have both my blogs signed up to the Metaxucafe site. It seems to work quite well as far as aggregator sites go.

As for podcasting, I've done one audio post, and while it turned out ok, and I'll probably do more, I can't see it replacing text as the main tool for bloggers. It is harder than many people think to put together something coherent in audio format.

Don Quixote said...

I like to read a post from start to finish. If I have the site in my links section then I'll probably read every post that that person writes, good or bad.

So I guess those developments don't effect me.

Lucy Tartan said...

I've been using Bloglines for about six months. It's great. Cuts down on time traversing across blogs - which means you can fit in more more more - and you can subscribe to feeds from news services and journals and aggregators too - excellent.

Some feeds are set up to reproduce the whole post and some only show the first few lines. I think in Bloglines you can set these preferences yourself?

I've signed up to several Topix feeds for obscure subjects I'm interested in - sort of like a technorati tracker but via RSS.

Zoe said...

timT, I checked that link and found it REALLY hard to read bright red text on top of an image - so I gave up, even though it appeared quite entertaining.

And I'm a big bloglines fan. I click through if I think the comments will be interesting, or to read a full post. Saves all that "oh, no new post there" sadness.

snorri the goblin said...

Podcasting seems like a subcultural thing. If you do that amount of work to do it properly, you might as well be on community radio too. Maybe that synergy will work.

But at the moment it looks like a neat offshoot of radio stations. Notice how the ABC has got into it?

I think I might make my first paras weirder.

TimT said...

Yeah, I know what you mean, Zoe. I think that blog is formatted quite well, but you do run into some problems like black text blending into the background image.