The Internets are big these days and getting bigger all the time.
This is just a few pointers of how I make sense of it all. This is not a roadmap, where we’re going we don’t need…roads. Just a few signposts.
Google – The new features for filtering search results are useful. Haven’t tried them yet? Next time you search for something click +Show Options up top. This will give you a few options, the most useful is the time filters. If you know what you’re searching for is recent, choose a recent timescale like 1 week to filter out long term junk.
Twitter – Many bemoan Twitter as empty narcisicm, and yes, there is that, but there is a lot of very good reasons to use twitter. Recently I have found many moments when Twitter is the only resources I can search to get real time information about something. Twitter is a noisy, global discussion. If you are wondering why your favourite TV show isn’t on, someone is tweeting about how it sucks the show isn’t on because of baseball. If you want to know who the opening act for that concert you are going to tomorrow night, search on Twitter and you’ll realize, its tonight! OMG, gotta go! This actually happened to me. Its also a great way to get personalized links and news from people you trust.
Twitter Lists – A new feature was added recently to twitter, lists. These allow you to create a public (or private) list of tweeters that others can follow. This makes it easier to discover new people to follow en masse. But it also lets you reduce the noise of your main twitter feed by unfollowing all the news orgs or random accounts you have and just follow the lists interested.
Facebook – The 500-pound gorilla of the social networking world, I was beginning to think Facebook was on the way out, but it only seems to get bigger and bigger. Frankly, I don’t find it very useful for anything other than keeping up with friends I don’t talk to much anymore. In the near future they are planning to introduce more email-like messaging and do more with search so perhaps this will change. But right now the best thing about Facebook is the huge proportional of the internet population who is on it.
Politwitter – If you are a Canadian news junkie this a great, maybe the best place, to find out what people are chattering about. There are special lists for MPs, provincial MPPs, party supporters, topics etc. The guy running this does a lot of great social media web tools, my other favourite underused tool of his is parliament2.ca which unfortunately hasn’t caught on yet to be that productive.
Worio – There are a whole slew of new search engines out there trying to think outside the box Google has set. Worio is my favourite of these, it includes a social networking and discussion component to search results and improves results through easy user tagging. I just import my del.icio.us bookmarks into it and it makes intelligent suggestions for other content I may like.
Google Reader – I don’t think RSS readers are necessarily the best way to read content on the web, I like browsing a news website or blog and discovering articles side by side. But an aggregator can be pretty go for catching up on the main topics in an area of content on the web. I set up a bunch of Google Alerts, running search terms that notify you a new hits, and read these in Google Reader. I also read online comics here.
Google Analytics – If you have a website where you can alter the base html code such as on blogger then you can use google analytics to get all kinds of detailed data about traffic to your site.