Friday, December 20, 2013

How I Curate My Web

Here's a list of sites that I no longer feel comfortable checking out. Perusing their articles can be bothersome for a bunch of reasons, whether:

  • They find content originally discovered from other sources, make some slight alteration (sometimes crediting the source, but often not). I'd rather use my internet skills to trace an article to either the source itself, or the first site that aggregated it (which in many cases, is Reddit).
  • They mask the actual content in warm, vague, smarmy, pseudo-altruistic titles that are intended to make people feel good about themselves by clicking on the title. Link-bait titles are a pet peeve in and of itself (I especially hate when tech or science sites, which should ostensibly not be biased, use these tactics, but supersize that with some teenage-boyfriend-trying-to-get-some cheap emotional manipulation, and Houston, we've got a problem. Unfortunately, Upworthy, the grandaddy of such sites has been declared the Fastest Growing Media Site of All Time by Fast Company. This means the Upworthy clones are coming; the newest one I've seen; SharePowered.
  • They distract me from checking out sites where I could be learning something or read about something that really matters. For an eye opening experience about how much time is involved, I use an extension called Time Tracker. For better or for worse, 15% of my browser's time is spent open on Facebook. I've got to lower that.
So, a week ago, I used two Google Chrome extensions in order to close the door on these sites:
  • Block Site - This extension will keep your browser from going to certain sites. You can configure it to redirect you to another site of your choosing. In my case, I'm redirecting to Feedly, where I've got RSS on tap.
  • Personal Blocklist - This keeps sites from showing up in your Google search results.
I don't miss them, and I don't even know that I miss them. As a result I can focus on finding & exploring better sources of information. More on how to do that in a future post.

P.S., I've got a List of Blocked Sites that shows what's getting curated out of my Web experience.

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