August 22, 2005

Aggregators: Enter Stage Left

As I said, I spent a lot of time finding information. I was forever instant messaging people (particularly Denise) saying “Have you seen this?” Incredibly, not everyone could jump to click URLs when I buzzed them. Of course, I couldn’t click when they buzzed me either. This sometimes (often) led to lost links when a computer crashed or the dreaded pdf froze everything. I also started to feel rather like an old-fashioned forwarder in a lot of cases. If I saw something interesting, amusing, useful or aggravating, I was likely to share it far and wide via instant message or email. Fortunately, my useful links outweighed my not useful ones…so I don’t think many folks were at the point of hiding from me.

I sometimes think I should consider a career in buzz marketing. Schick certainly owes me a few bucks for sending everyone I knew that had legs or armpits to their Quattro for Women promotional website.

While I pondered the "Could you email it to me? I am swamped." dilemma, I wandered across mention of Tickle. Wow, a way to share a url without instant message. I could even stick a little note on there. They offered email notification but umm, it didn’t always work. While I was sorting out if it was them or me, I discovered Bloglines. I went around to all those people I had herded on to Tickle and said look at this cool thing. You can get my links as something called a feed and store them and I think that that orange rss thing means everyone can get news that way.

Everyone, (again particularly Denise) watched my new enthusiasm for this Bloglines thing with skepticism. No one wanted to spend the time to figure out what were rather dense instructions just to get my links. (Hmmm)  

I started with news, marketing and community development feeds. I threw in a few feeds that belonged to friends and family (because, of course, I convinced them to get Bloglines so they had their Bloglines “blogs”.  I then got in a habit of looking for feeds when I was in the midst of work and found a good resource that I didn’t want to keep checking for new material.  Once I started looking, that little orange rectangle showed up everywhere. Yes, I had noticed it before but never paid much attention. I had the impression that rss was only for republishing news to your website. Cool idea but not something I was interested in.

I was finding out new stuff before most of my newsletters arrived. I could tell people I did research for that there was a new journal article, new resource, new mention in the news of an area they studied. I turned from being the girl geek who knew the mysteries of web “clipping” services and found great newsletters about all sorts of things and summarized the best material in them…into being the Amazing Kreskin of the assistant world. “How did you hear about this on a Friday night when the hard copy hasn’t even arrived?” :-X “I have my sources.“

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