About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Identifying blogs

While I see articles, seminars, and resources on how to find information using search engines and how to find and evaluate resources through the library, I have yet to see anything that identifies how to identify blogs.

What got me thinking about this topic was spending the weekend with my sister and her family. My brother in law is a financial planner and he was pouring through magazines and journals that come to his office for free. I asked him if he found anything useful, and he indicated that most was too broad to be of use, most likely since any useful information would be outdated by the time it was published. I asked if he followed any blogs, and he said he had yet to tap into one that was useful, but that he really did not have time to go looking so his search had been superficial.

This got me to thinking about how I have found the blogs that I now read on a regular basis.

My Own Journey into Finding Blogs

Most of the blogs I subscribe to came out of the online conferences I have participated in over the last few years. Those online conferences started with a simple e-mail on a listserv announcing the conference on Connectivism. My first two blog subscription came out of that conference for George Sieman's elearnspace and Vicki Davis's Cool Cat Teacher Blog. I found Tony Karrer's blog through the conference on elearning innovations and trend.

As I began to participate more in the blogs, I learned I could find out about other blogs by clicking on those posting's profile. This is how I found Karyn Romeis, Christy Tucker, and Guy Boulet (whose names I recognized from participating in online conferences) Joan Vinall-Cox, Clark Quinn, Christine Martell, and Harold Jarche. I was then asked to participate in the Work Literacy blog. As I began to blog more, I then began to create other contacts with those that would comment on my blog such as Ken Allen and Michele Martin.

So, how do I decide which blogs I am going to subscribe to and how do I follow them?

Upon reflection, I realize that I tend to go back to blogs where the authors are discussing issues that are of interest to me. Sometimes I am right on the same page as them (as I tend to be with Karyn Romeis and Joan Vinall-Cox. However, more often than not, the topics under discussion are interesting to me and the authors will engage me in a discussion of the topic. In fact, I find more often than not, Tony Karrer and Guy Boulet have a very different take on their topics than I do.

When I look at the blogs, I look at the profile of the writer. The name is not as important as a description of the blog and its purpose. I will follow a link from a respected blog. Before subscribing, I will need to follow the blog for a while. If I have not read the blog for while, I will reevaluate the subscription.

Recently, I have begun to organize the blogs and how I access them differently. I now make sure that those posts I find interesting I put on delicious. I have some of my blogs on RSS feeds (mostly those I have been following for a while). However, others I have begun to put on igoogle so I can access them away from home. These tend to be blogs that I can use in planning my teaching.

While I have tried to find blogs via search engines, I find I have not had any real look. While I might get popular sites, they don't fit into what I am interested in.

So, I am interested in knowing how others find blogs in their fields? How do you decide which ones to subscribe to? How do you keep track of them? How do you vet them?


Anonymous said...


I often see links through comments or shared items on friendfeed and/or delicious and take a quick peep, sometimes ask around too or random ones come up in conversation.

When I did recently started looking at the world of female blogging, I searched various places - including blogher, bloggingbywomen (this took ages, going through each individual blog but I found some great ones), Janet Clarey's list was fantastic too.

I'm trying to use Pageflakes to organise them all for easier referencee, its not the most efficient way, but I like Pageflakes.


V Yonkers said...

I've had difficulty accessing pageflakes at school, although igoogle does not seem to have a problem.

I am still playing around with how to organize the pageflakes (i.e. igoogle) so I can see the most important information. But I like the fact that I can rotate information around on the page.

I liked Janet's list also, but I did not have enough knowledge at the time to link to the sites. I might just have to go back there.

I would like to find some blogs written in other languages, but I'm not sure if the bloggosphere is set up the same for French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch speakers. I have found some great German language blogs, and maybe now that the kids are back in school I can follow them a bit closer!

Any suggestions for foreign language blogs, anyone?

Anonymous said...

I do have a European Pageflakes page - which is a work in progress - I was starting to collate European blogs, some not in English

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia!

This is the second attempt I've had at putting this comment on your post. The first was a couple of days ago - I had some problems :-)

The Comment Challenge taught me a thing or two about this theme. It forced me to learn things for myself.

I get blogs from interesting comments on interesting blogs.

I get blogs from links on interesting blogs.

I get blogs when I serendipitously come across them when on a search - not often but often enough.

I get blogs from perusing blog rolls on interesting blogs.

In some ways it's a bit like what Michele Martin says about homophily. But I can only follow my interests, and I'm mainly interested in education, learning and blogging when I blog - a mind-set, I know :-)

I put interesting blogs that I find in my RSS Reader. They get a few weeks to prove themselves and then I review if I want to keep them. I don't mind how many posts a blogger churns out per week as long as they are interesting. That's why Stephen Downes' blog is still in my list, and there are a few others that compete with that production rate there too.

When I'm satisfied that I don't mind sharing a blog I've found, I put it in my blog roll.

Ka kite
from Middle-earth.

V Yonkers said...

Nicolaa: What a great group of blogs. I'll pass on those I find (actually, I found one yesterday in Portuguese (from Portugal). One feature of pageflakes I like is that you can include a message board. You might want to include that so you can add suggestions or comments about the blogs.

Ken: I forgot about the blogrolls. I do find some of the blogs that way. Jane Hart's blog (Jane's E-learning Pick of the Day) came through someone's blogroll (I don't remember whose).

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia!

I've just remembered about two posts by Rose DesRochers: ( 1 ) and ( 2 ). She covers this topic in both.

Catchya later