The Web Collector: I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours…

I had the rare opportunity to sit in on a discussion today led by Mark S. Luckie, well-know owner of the blog “10,000 Words.” Of the many basic topics we covered (finding your own voice when writing a blog,  using Twitter to gain new users, etc), the one topic that Mark mentioned that resonated more than all the others was finding good content to write about. Often, I sit down at my computer after a long day of study and class, and while attempting to decompress and review the knowledge gained over the course of the day, I am often at a loss for words (literally) as to what the topic of my next blog post should be.

Mark’s solution? StumbleUpon and Del.icio.us!

Well, among other things, of course. But as a self-proclaimed web collector, I am no stranger to the world of online information hording. For me, it all began about a year ago when I was literally addicted to StumbleUpon. (If you’ve never heard of this amazing Web 2.0 tool, I adamantly suggest trying it out. Just be prepared to not leave your computer seat for about a week.) StumbleUpon is a website that allows you to add a button to your internet browser that cycles you through websites that are currently popular according to your interests. For instance, if you list your interests as jogging, music, and online gaming, whenever you hit the StumbleUpon button in your toolbar, you are randomly sent to a site in one of these categories that has earned itself a high rating by StumbleUpon users.  The site also has a decent social networking aspect, but for some reason I never really got onto that bandwagon. I just like the stumbling!

Of course, after stumbling upon site after site of useful and bookmark-worthy web pages, I began saving the sites to my StumbleUpon account so that I could go back and reference the sites that I thought were worthy of “collecting.”  Unfortunately, I found the StumbleUpon interface a counter-intuitive, and once I collected more than 50 websites within my account, it was becoming difficult to navigate to the ones I wanted to go to when I needed them. Thus, Del.icio.us entered the picture.

Honestly, I had no idea what Del.icio.us was when I went to the site. All I knew that over half the blogs I was reading had links to it, and it had something to do with bookmarking websites. Skeptical at first by the sites super-simplistic layout (think Craigslist, but with hints of blue here and there), I quickly realized why so many bloggers were using this bookmarking tool. Not only does it save your bookmarks online, and makes them accessible from any computer, but it too gives you the capability to add a browser plugin to make accessing your bookmarks easier. Most importantly, the site allows you to tag your bookmarks with important information, and then search via the tags right in your browser! It is like having your own personal assistant pulling up the right website for you when you need it the most.

Getting back to the discussion with Mark, I found it interesting and enlightening that he uses these tools together, much in the same way I have been doing. The key to all this new Web 2.0 technology, as I have discovered, is not only necessarily knowing about it or having accounts at all the major sites, but being able to use the technology in a way that is useful to you.

As far as my blog postings…well, I still consider them works in progress. If I am ever stuck on a topic, however, you might get lucky and I’ll share you some of my bookmarks. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours…

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~ by dparsonsmedia on September 17, 2009.

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