Keeping up to date in the software field gets harder every day, and when you are a smaller shop like us, it gets worse, as you generally have to keep track of developments in multiple engineering fields, rather than just concentrating in one area. RSS feeds delivered to your desktop (mine come straight into my email client ‘river of news’ style) help solve this problem, but of course the question is who should you be reading and why. As I’ve discussed previously, the concept of an ‘A List’ influencer is one that I tend not to believe in, preferring to listen to a wide range of opinions on subjects rather than just what the ‘influencers’ write - hence the reason why I like to read things like Drama 2.0 as well as Techcrunch. The obvious things to do when looking for other blogs is to look at the blogroll for the ones you do like, hopefully if you like an author then you are going to like the same things they like, but if you aren’t reading the feed via the web then this can become a non trivial task, especially if you have lots of existing feeds that you track - in my case that would be something like 100 blogrolls to visit and then all the associated pages to check out - not something I have the time for
Following on from that you have services like Outbrain
(recently raising an extra $5M US) who are trying to build a blog recommendation service that works in a similar way to the Amazon recommendations. They have a small widget that gets embedded in your blog so readers can rate and recommend you, leading to the ‘Readers who like this post also like x and y’ syndrome. The downside to this of course is it relies on the social community, which tends to mean the popular blogs just get more popular. Lastly you can use a service like Google Blog Search or Technorati, to create a custom feed but in reality this just means you end up with a load of spam / duplicate blog posts rather than seeing what you really want. Whilst all of these methodologies can help you find things that you are interested in, they all have major shortcomings, what’s really needed is some automated way of determining other blogs you should be reading based on what you are already reading. It would be nice if there was a service that could take your existing blog list, in say OPML
format, categorize the blogs that you are reading and then return an OPML of recommendations. Anyone interested in building me one?