Must-Read Feeds: My List

I’ve done a little reorganizing in my sprawling list of feed subscriptions. (What’s a feed?). If you’ve checked out my complete feed list (always noted in the right column, Feeds Amy Reads), you’ll see I subscribe to over 400 feeds sorted into about 30 categories.

Obviously, there’s no way I read all of that stuff all the time.

So I’ve finally gotten around to creating a short list of feeds that I check daily…

Check it out: Here is my Top Feeds list. Currently there are 28 feeds on that list – a pretty manageable amount for daily reading, I’ve found. That link points to an OPML file. Right-click to download it, then import it into your feed reader.

If you’re not interested in the OPML file, below I present that list in a more readable form. But first, let me explain why and how I did this reorganization of my feed list.

ABOUT MY LIST OF TOP FEEDS

I have always maintained a mental list of sites and blogs which tend to regularly provide me with the best selection of news, perspectives, and food for thought. I simply got used to looking at these feeds first as I would poke through my massive list of feed subscriptions a few times a day.

Obviously, that wasn’t efficient. However, my favorite feeds span a wide range of topics. I resisted removing them from their respective categories (folders) and lumping them all together because I liked reading them in context.

The trouble was, I often ended up not checking my favorites as often as I would have liked – simply because I had to go through the effort of opening folders and scanning long lists. I’d often get distracted during this process, too.

The result: Often I wouldn’t notice a particularly brilliant or useful posting or conversation until it was several days old. I constantly felt behind, and that was a bit stressful.

So I decided to create a folder strictly for my favorite feeds, regardless of topic. This is working much better for me. I know these feeds so well that in practice I don’t feel like I’ve lost any context, and I feel much more caught up with the fresh content I prefer.

MY LIST OF MUST-READ FEEDS

Here they are, for your reading pleasure. I’ve included with each a brief explanation about why I read it daily, and also “subscribe” link pointing to the feed for each. You can also subscribe to this entire list via Bloglines.

This list is in alphabetical order – no reflection on quality, etc.

  1. Analysis (Services and Self), by Koan Bremner. One of the more intriguing and better-written weblogs around. A mix of personal insights, general life observations, music, and technology. Always worth reading. (Added March 25)
  2. Boulder news via Topix: I live in Boulder, Colorado. I like the odd mix of Boulder-related news from all over that Topix offers. A good complement to local newspapers and other news venues. (Subscribe )
  3. Center for Democracy and Technology: A great resource for keeping up on the intersection of technology and freedom of expression. (Subscribe)
  4. Conversations with Dina: I’ve been reading Dina Mehta for at least a couple of years. She’s a qualitative researcher based in Mumbai, India – and an all-around intriguing person whose interests often intersect with mine. (Subscribe)
  5. Creative Librarian: I’ve admired librarians my whole life because they care so much about freedom of access to information. They also are creative about ways to use information, and they’re into cool tools for finding, organizing, and using information. This blog by Laura Blalock is my main link to the world of librarians and libraries. (Subscribe)
  6. Cutting Through: A frank and creative look at social software in the real world. By Tim Duckett and Wayne Robinson of the UK consultancy Infosential. (Subscribe)
  7. Designing for Civil Society: David Wilcox on technology, engagement, and governance. Insights on how we can create a better world in practical ways. (Subscribe)
  8. Dictionary.com Word of the Day: Being a total word geek, I never miss this one. Serendipity! (Subscribe)
  9. Elearningpost: A selective and always-interesting overview of happenings in the e-learning field by Maish Nichani. (Subscribe)
  10. EthanZ’s weblog: By Ethan Zuckerman, another intriguing individual who works tirelessly to bring the internet and other fruits of high-tech to Africa in useful and relevant ways. He also provides some of the most prescient insights on Africa I’ve encountered anywhere. (Subscribe)
  11. Feminist Daily News, from the Feminist Majority Foundation. Well-chosen selection of global women’s rights news. I find important items here that normally get overlooked by most news sources. (Subscribe)
  12. Full Circle: Weblog about online interaction by Nancy White, a consultant based in Seattle. Nancy travels all over the world, helping people use technology to connect and collaborate in many creative and practical ways. (Subscribe)
  13. How to Save the World: A weblog on business innovation and knowledge management by Dave Pollard, offered via Salon. This is probably my very favorite blog of all. Dave always gets my mind going, and his insights are usually brilliant and always intriguing. (Subscribe)
  14. Howling at a Waning Moon: By Robert Whitson. Selected environmental news stories and commentary from around the world. Definitely progressive-leaning, but still well-chosen. I often discover emerging environmental issues here, which helps my work on the SEJ Tipsheet. (Subscribe)
  15. The Intuitive Life: A business weblog by my friend and mentor Dave Taylor. A creative, intellectually omnivorous uber-geek with an MBA and tons of business experience. Gotta love it. (Subscribe)
  16. Hypergene MediaBlog: All about participatory journalism – how audiences are changing the future of news and information. Right up my alley, and very well-written to boot. By Chris Willis and Shayne Bowman of Hypergene, a media consulting and design firm. (Subscribe)
  17. Knowledge Jolt: Weblog by KM consultant Jack Vinson. All sorts of ideas on how to use knowledge in order to work more effectively. (Subscribe)
  18. Mathemagenic: weblog on learning an knowledge management by Lilia Efimova, a Russian e-learning professional who lives and works in the Netherlands. I love the way she thinks. (Subscribe)
  19. Micro Persuasion: This PR blog by Steve Rubel deserves its popularity. Steve seems to know about everything before it happens, and he never misses irony or hesitates to state his views, either. (Subscribe)
  20. Minding the Planet: An unusual, thought-provoking, forward-looking collection of news and ideas. By Nova Spivack, a high-tech entrepreneur and Rennaissance man. (Subscribe)
  21. The Onion: My favorite spoof news source. I need to laugh on a regular basis. (Subscribe)
  22. Online Journalism Review: News, analysis, and commentary from USC Annenberg School of Communication. Intriguing glimpse into how journalism is adapting to the online age, and vice versa. (Subscribe)
  23. Podcasting News: The emerging medium of podcasting is moving incredibly fast. It’s easy to get overwhelmed trying to follow all the developments. This site covers the most important happenings and does a good job of succinctly placing them in context. (Subscribe)
  24. ResearchBuzz: Everything I’ve ever learned about online searching and cool niche information resources that really matters I learned from Tara Calishain. She’s a genius. (Subscribe)
  25. Searchblog: By John Battelle, on technology, media, and search tools and techniques. A lot of business news, with succinct and usually on-target analysis. He goes to all the coolest conferences, too. (Subscribe)
  26. Sharewood Tidings: Over at Master New Media, Robin Good (an online publisher and new media communication expert from Italy) helps keep me ahead of the curve. Wide variety – independent publishing, collaboration, technology, and more. (Subscribe)
  27. Environmental Journalism Today: From the Society of Environmental Journalists. SEJ offers one of the best daily collections of environmental news headlines. It’s a great way to stay on top of emerging issues, see connections, and see how environmental issues play out around North America. (Subscribe)
  28. View from the Isle: News and opinion by consultant Tris Hussey on blogging, blog consulting, professional blogging, blog software, collaboration, knowledge management, and more. Tris is a colleague and friend, and he always manages to deliver information I want to know. (Subscribe)

HOW I CHOSE THESE FEEDS

I mostly selected feeds from sites or blogs that consistently intrigue me, provoke me in constructive ways, and generally get my mind going and energize me. I get a lot of ideas from these feeds, and I feel that they help me understand my world better.

These favorite feeds also tend to come from ahead-of-the-curve thinkers – people who have a gift for spotting important emerging trends or developments before everyone else catches on. I like being ahead of the curve. It helps me plan for what I need to research and learn – which generally helps me reduce my sense of learning overload.

This list reflects my unique taste and needs. There are no objective criteria involved here whatsoever. I am not presenting these as “the best” feeds , they are simply my favorites. Take that for what it’s worth. Just because a particular feed did not make my short list does not mean I don’t like it as much. It just means I personally don’t feel a strong need to read everything on it as soon as the postings appear.

I avoided including feeds that tend to post more than 2-3 items daily, since that would be too much to keep up with and too much of a distraction to me. Some of these feeds only offer 2-3 items a week, and that’s fine. I’m aiming for quality here, not quantity. My goal, after all, was to combat information overload. There are some high-volume feeds I enjoy very much, but in practice I’ve found I get more out of those if I scan them once or twice a week, rather than daily.

WHAT ABOUT NEWS AND PODCASTS?

My list of top feeds only includes a couple of news feeds, and no podcasts. This may seem odd, since I’m definitely a news and podcast junkie. However, most news sites tend to post so many items every day that I would find it distracting in my list of top feeds.

So my favorite news feeds remain as always in my news-general and news-local folders, in the main list. I do check these once or twice daily.

As for podcasts, I maintain my list of podcast subscriptions in my podcatcher software, not in my main feed reader. My podcatcher downloads news shows a couple of times daily, so I keep up with audio content that way.

Enjoy!

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