I Am Your Filter

Louis Gray had an interesting post on the new Google Reader Friend statistics. He also mentions one of the main reasons I share items in Google Reader:

Sharing items I find interesting in Google Reader is a major part of my social activity, as I help promote discovery of quality information to those who choose to subscribe, in a way, acting as a pro bono information filter on behalf of geeks everywhere.

This also spawned an interesting discussion on FriendFeed. I share a lot of items in Google Reader. Louis is a fairly active sharer, and I share almost 3 times what he shares. According to his statistics, I share about 51 items per day. My Google Reader shares are not meant for someone who wants a few good stories per day.

So why do I share so much? Basically I share what I am reading. I currently have 295 subscriptions and that only increases by 1-2 per week. I also subscribe to a variety of content. If you tried to categorize things my feeds fit into the following:

  • Tech News – TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, TheNextWeb, GigaOm
  • Software Development – Smashing Magazine, Noupe, A List Apart, and several individual development blogs
  • Social Media – AllFacebook, Chris Brogan, Social Media Explorer, Pistachio
  • Tech Related Blogs – Louis Gray, SheGeeks, Stay N’ Alive, The Future Buzz
  • Business and Marketing – Conversation Agent, Seth Godin, Fred Wilson, Micro Persuasion
  • Comics – Dilbert, Doonesbury, XKCD
  • Lifehacks – Zen Habits, Dumb Little Man, LifeHacker, Stepcase Lifehack
  • Blogging blogs – ProBlogger, ShoeMoney, Copyblogger
  • “Tech Expert” blogs – James Gosling (of Java fame), Scobleizer, Paul Graham (Y Combinator), Martin Fowler
  • Data Mining – Neoformix, Geeking with Greg, Flowing Data
  • Semantic Web – Kingsley Idehen, Minding the Planet (Nova Spivack), Nodalities
  • Official Application Blogs – FriendFeed, Disqus, Mixx, Remember The Milk

Some of these categories are more heavily represented as well. Software development has 3 different folders because I need to continuously categorize things. There are software developers, software sites (i.e. Smashing Magazine), and development news (i.e. The Server Side). Most of these sites are listed in my blog roll which is a separate page on the site. Just click on the tab at the top of the page to see most of these.

Of course, I still have not answered, why do I share so much? Basically, I share these items so that you do not have to find them. If you want a summary of what the “major tech blogs” wrote in the past 24 hours, you could look at my shares and see good opinions or who even wrote about it first. If you want to dabble or just learn the terminology in data mining or the semantic web, you could view my shares. You may not see a lot of content in those areas, but I am sharing a lot of information every day.

So, feel free to subscribe to my shares and get a decent summary of a whole host of things. Think of me as your personal tech blog and news filter. You can think of it as a quick way to avoid some of the information overload. Once you have read those posts you can go to FriendFeed and discuss everything.

9 thoughts on “I Am Your Filter

  1. I’ve been saying this since information overload became an issue. Humans make the best filters – which is why systems like FriendFeed and Google Reader are far more effective than automated systems.


  2. Andy,

    I only partially agree with “humans make the best filters”. Humans do make very good filters until bias is really considered. I am not sure if I have an obvious bias in my shares, but there is always something implicit. Algorithms can make good filters too, but they end up being limited. If you look at techmeme, they are trying to get the best of both worlds, some algorithmic filtering and a dash of human filtering. This sort of combination will probably become even more powerful as we get more sharing.


  3. Most of my Google Reader subscriptions are related to the four categories where I am focusing my attentions: business, music, the Inland Empire of California, and NTN Buzztime. All of my Google Reader shares dump into a single FriendFeed account, and perhaps I can improve on that in some way. (I do have four separate FriendFeed rooms, one per topic; perhaps I can figure out a way to automatically redirect the items to the appropriate room.)


  4. John,

    I am not sure if changing your sharing to multiple accounts would help. You may be able to tag your shares in Google Reader, and then create separate feeds for each tag.


  5. That did the trick. I created a “shared-business” tag, which I then shared. The tagged contents are publicly viewable and have their own atom feed.

    Thanks for the tip.


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