So, I’ve been mulling over the results from the blog survey, and thinking about how many people come here who don’t normally travel in the circles of the blogosphere. I thought about writing a thesis sized overview of what the New Media is all about, and how participation in content creation and remix is irreversibly changing the roles of media producers and consumers. After all, I have to do something while I procrastinate on writing that sermon and designing that new APU course. But, I got bored with that almost as soon as I finished writing that introductory sentence.
I don’t want to explain it. I think you should just jump in and experience it for yourself. Let me give you some tools to get started.
First, let’s get you something that will let you grab information more quickly, without having to go to a million pages first thing in the morning. We’re going to use two pieces of software to do this: one for text (blogs), and one for media (podcasts, vidcasts). Again, I’m just going to ignore the fact that some of you use Windows, because I don’t want to encourage that kind of behavior. I think most new media stuff works on PC’s, I just don’t know how. And, also, the content creators can see what system you logged on with, and they kind of laugh at you behind your back.
NewsGator / NetNewsWire
It’s a website and a piece of software. The website is free, and you can use it without the software. It works like this: you type in the address of a website you like …
and it goes there every morning to check for new content. Then, instead of you going to all 50 websites you like, you go instead to the NewsGator site, and all the updated stuff is there waiting for you.
The software option lets you sync to the website, repost your own blog, and do a bunch of other cool stuff. It looks like this:
Show Me the Content!
So, now that you have that all dialed in, what should you feed into it? Here are a few suggestions to get you started. The sites are linked, and the feed address is in parenthesis. This is the thing you should copy into your aggregator.
jesuscreed.org (http://www.jesuscreed.org/wp-rss2_full.php) – the blog of Scot McKnight. Great writing, great ideas, great links out to other blogs. Pretty much daily updates of serious content.
Dilbert (http://www.tapestrycomics.com/dilbert.xml) I like the comic Dilbert. I don’t like buying a newspaper. Instead, I use this link to have the daily comic strip delivered to my feed aggregator. Actually, there are a ton of comic strips that I like, so I’ve grabbed a lot of feeds from this site: tapestrycomics.com. Enjoy!
Free in LA (http://freeinla.blogspot.com/atom.xml). I like Los Angeles. There’s like, culture and stuff. This blog lists free things happening in this beautiful city, daily.
Google News custom search. Ok, this one is a bit tweaky, and a bit cool. You all know about the site Google News. You probably also know that you can do a custom search at Google News. What you might not know is that you can get an RSS feed of that custom search, and load it into your aggregator. After you’ve done your seach, check the left sidebar, where is says “RSS Feed”. Grab that link, add it to your aggregator, and you’re off to go!
With my custom search RSS feed, I can follow the news of how my LA Angels are crushing the rest of the league. Hoozah!
Text is great, but what if we want sound, or even moving pictures? Let me recommend to you the fabulous iTunes. Yes, you can use it to rip and download a lifetimes worth of music, but it’s also a very simple-to-use feed aggregator for podcasts. Since it’s Apple, it’s pretty intuitively obvious how to subscribe to podcasts that they have in their directory, but you can also use it to grab feeds that may not be in their vast library. All you need to do is go to the “Advanced” menu, hit “Subscribe to podcast”, and put in that fancy RSS feed we’ve been so hot on lately.
So … what should you subscribe to? Here are some of my favorites. If you have itunes installed, the links should open the podcast in itunes for you.
TEDTalks. These are pretty much all amazing. You especially need to watch Majora Carter. These are video, so you’ll need a fat pipe before you start to download them. If you want some background on what TED is all about, here’s the site.
The Bible Podcast. Almost 1,000 daily subscribers. Get a little bit o’ word with your daily intake.
Ask a Ninja. There are no words for how funny this is. It’s the New Jersey Jewish accent that kills me. I love this kind of “Theatre of the Absurd”, and the Ninja is the master of it. I AM NINJA!
Center for Internet and Society. Got a long commute? These shows range from 45 minutes to an hour, and are produced by Stanford Law School. This is the kind of thing that you would normally pay $5,000 per unit to be a part of, but you get to listen in for free because of the internets.
rocketboom. Do you like your news delivered with poor production, awkward pauses, and unfathomable nonsequiters? You’ll love Joanne Colan and Rocketboom.
And now …
So, those are some things to get you started. Jump in … the water’s warm, mainly because Chad keeps letting his kids pee in the pool. I know several of our regular readers have their favorites, sites that they keep up with on a daily basis. Feel free to list them in the comments. Don’t just dump your list on us, but give us two or three that you think are gems, and make the case for us.
Up the Revolution!