Website reading list

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At a recent event, I met up with a regular reader of this blog, Andrew, who asked me what websites and news feeds I read regularly to keep track of trends within digital media, social media and the web in general.

I’ll start the answer with a disclaimer – this list has been growing over time, and follows specific interests that I’ve had over the last couple of years.

I find it impossible to keep going to specific websites to keep up to date, so RSS feeds are the answer. I’ve tried using a number of RSS readers but because my life is ruled by Outlook – when the 2010 version came along with an excellent RSS reader, I was sold, and am now able to stay up to date with RSS feeds.

If you use Outlook 2010 but don’t use it for RSS, I recommend you try it because it presents articles just like emails. (Like you need more emails…)

I’m not including news feeds that post less than an article a month. So the list, in alphabetical order is:

  • Google News. I’ve set up a number of RSS feeds using Google Alerts. I monitor most of the suppliers in our technology stack, and skim read through the list regularly. I have to skim it because there’s usually a lot of duplicate content because of press releases. Examples of the feeds include Akamai (one of our Content Delivery Partners), Endava and IMG (my former company and I still find it interesting to follow).
  • This blog. I keep an archive of all the articles because I find it easier to search, and it’s a nice offline backup method.
  • Confused of Calcutta. Written by JP Rangaswami, the Chief Scientist at Salesforce.com. His articles are thought provoking and detailed about all aspects of information, and wider architecture thoughts. If you like the book, Cluetrain Manifesto, you’ll love his blog (especially as he wrote a chapter in the 10th anniversary edition) because they share the same writing style. I often comment on JP’s articles.
  • Google Webmaster Central Blog. Excellent resource for the latest happenings, straight from the preverbial horse’s mouth. I’ll often spot content in the articles and email it around to the technical teams at work.
  • Hitwise Intelligence – Heather Dougherty. We have a love/hate relationship with Hitwise that I won’t go into here. Sometimes Heather posts interesting traffic trends. Very US centric (not necessarily a bad thing), however she’s one of my preferred Hitwise bloggers.
  • Information Is Beautiful. I am fascinated by this company. Anyone who can illustrate massive or complex data sets to enable us mortals to understand it in 2 seconds and keep our attention for 15 minutes with the same diagram is a magician. Chances are that if you see me shortly after a new post, I’ll tell you about it.
  • IP TV Times. Updated very regularly, Iolo Jones provides a straight-from-the-heart view of pretty much anything connected to digital media, video, commercialisation and online piracy. I aspire to updating this blog as regularly as Iolo updates his. I often comment on Iolo’s articles.
  • Matt Groves Digital Donut. One of the nicest guys in the Digital industry, Matt works at Fallon and often updates his blog with the latest campaigns that have either caught his eye (around the World – not just the UK, which is something I like) or that Fallon are working on.
  • The Opposite Direction. Also one of the nicest guys in the industry, Robin heads up the social media practice at McCann who we do a lot of work with. Social Media is packed with jump-on-the-bandwagon consultants who are full of hot air however Robin is the complete opposite – he shares his knowledge and experience in every meeting. His blog is written in a similar way – you typically learn something new in most articles.
  • The Register. Because I am in IT, and the Register provides the latest IT (and some scientific) news, usually with a good sense of humour. I don’t read every article (it would take all day) – I generally skim the headlines and read any articles that are relevant.
  • UK news: Office for National Statistics (The Guardian). I like statistics and the ONS has lots of them. The Guardian apply some commentary but I like the fact it’s up to the reader to make sense of them.
  • Webcredible. A varied blog from a usability consultancy where an old IMG colleague, Ismail, works. The blog is full of useful digital media best practices (not just usability) and examples of best websites out-there.
  • What’s Next: Top Trends. Thoughts from one of my favourite ‘futurists’, Richard Watson. I often comment on Richard’s posts.

If you have any other recommendations or comments on the feeds above, please do let me know.

Photo courtesy of Bytelove.

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