Victus Spiritus


The Art of Aggregation

05 Aug 2010

Not many of us trust a single source, or expend the time to read one fully. We simply can't keep up with all of our favorite inbound channels and authors. But we can influence and personalize the flow of media we observe. Any tools which diminish this freedom should be examined carefully. Here are just a few media sources I rely on daily:

Its a challenge to stay informed about relevant events within our areas of interest, especially if your interests are diverse and complex.

Isolated Observations are Fragmented and Easily Fooled

Individual bloggers are bound to biases, whether they be social, shared goals, or financial. No matter how heavily sole sources work to diminish the presence of preference in their coverage, human nature and the core of our personality won't yield. Writers are better served by embracing their bias, and being clear about it to themselves and visitors. Style counts for much in a world full of automated voices. The subtle shift in bias from post to post is a telling signal to those willing to see it.

Fused Data Fills in Gaps in Understanding and Resists Deception

I've come to rely heavily on aggregators to keep up to date on important posts. Twitter, Google Buzz, Hacker News, and Google Reader are the heavy lifters in my aggregation arsenal. I've tried My6Sense, and Google Magic but without the ability to tune and deeply understand these algorithms I feel a loss of influence over my media channels. Still with limited time, tools like these will aid in elevating statistically favorable posts.

Twitter has bested it's aggregation rivals thus far for my personal flexibility, response time, and ease of use. Much of the interface magic happens outside thanks to companies like TweetDeck and Seesmic. The presence of social network aggregators has improved utility to connected networks I participate in. Enabling browsers to scan updates from multiple services reveals the true source of network value clearly, the people that contribute to them.