Avoiding the Chasm

January 24, 2006

Top Ten Sources

Filed under: Media — vextasy @ 11:18 pm

I’ve just finished listening to Dave Winer’s Morning Coffee Notes interview with John Palfrey, founder of toptensources.com. In the interview, John Palfrey explains the ideas behind his site which empowers selected editors to manage a list of their top ten sources (a source being a web site or a blog or a feed). I like the sound of anything that helps improve my productivity whilst browsing, after all that is what is driving the aggregator movement. But in the back of my mind I kept thinking of how much I liked the Radio UserLand updates link which lets me see which other weblogs in the UserLand community have just been updated. Consider the following observations that I made whilst browsing the list of updated weblogs:

  1. It would appear that most of the people who have gone to the trouble to subscribe to Radio UserLand are interested in maintaining reasonable content.
  2. A certain amount of pleasure is derived from the uncertainty over the real quality of the weblog content.
  3. I like the fact that on each visit the updates page contains a different list of weblogs.
  4. A quick scan down the list of updated weblogs is all the human eye needs to identify interesting looking weblogs (in much the same way that it rejects spam emails by their titles).

Observations one and two combine to suggest that, within certain bounds, I am looking for an element of variability. Observations three and four hint that I would be happy to apply a personal filter to a larger list of candidate weblogs and that I enjoy the random nature of the presentation.

What does all this have to do with toptensources.com? Well, I question whether the top ten sources is what people really want or indeed whether there really is such a thing (even in the minds of the editors). For my part, I’d like to see a good ten random but reliable sources. How about tentopsources.com – nobody has taken it yet!

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