Just before Christmas I read a report from the Pew Research Center that suggested to me that blogs start becoming less important, not exactly cheering news as I had just started one but unsurprising as I’d already wondered if blog reading wouldn’t be dead already if it wasn’t for links being shared via Facebook and Twitter!
But just 6 short months later I find myself reading (and sharing!) more blogs from more places than ever before.
So what’s changed?
Well for me there have been several things. First I got an iPad, not in itself earth shattering, but the sheer lightness and mobility of it combined with a screen big enough to read means I am much happier to be online in my leisure time. Which in turn means I am seeing more updates with links to interesting looking blogs!
Then I added apps such as Mashable, TechCrunch and AllThingsDigital so I was coming across more posts, but these were still from limited sources, in some senses these blogs are more like online magazines with definite editorial stances and these days so big that they have become part of the establishment.
I still read these and still share links to great posts from them, but recently I downloaded an app called Zite ( http://www.zite.com/ )on the recommendation of a friend (thanks Andy Merrill!) and this has expanded my blog reading no end!
What Zite bills itself as is a ‘personalised magazine’. It allows you to pick as many or as few sections as you like from its list and even to use keywords to create your own sections. Then it goes out and trawls the Internet looking for content to populate your magazine with.
The magazine is beautifully presented, every story has a headline, picture and the same font but they are laid in a variety of size and position.
This is great but it gets better … The more you interact with Zite the more tailored to your needs it becomes. Every time you read a story you can quickly rate it afterwards with a thumbs up or down and you can also say if you’d like to read more from either the blog or that particular author. Of course you also have the options right there to share the posts you are reading too.
What I love most about Zite is that it finds posts that I probably couldn’t find, and it does not trawl only sites from the U.S! In fact I was thrilled a couple of weeks ago when it presented me with a blog post written by a friend of mine. Peter Masters (or @marketingm8) is a great guy who teaches people in the construction industry how to use social media and he lives less than 20 miles from me. Seeing a blog from my home county opened my eyes to just how extensively Zite looks for articles and reassured me that content was more important to them than fame.
As a blogger that lives in the back of beyond in the UK I suddenly felt like we were on the map! And that anything was possible! It reminded me that all these other blogs I’ve been reading were written by people just like me, I suppose it gave me back the feeling of community that seemed to be missing from blogs recently.
Because of Zite I am discovering a vast array of well written thought-provoking blog posts. Long live the bloggers and long live Zite!