Archive for the 'General' Category

RSS Reader: I’m being selfish, but you need to use one

[Begin preachy personal story] Among the neat things about blogging on WordPress is the relatively comprehensive site statistics the blog creator [Blogfather? Fairy blogmother?] can access from their user dashboard. I am a stat geek (I was obsessed with baseball statistics pretty much throughout all of high school), so this was really exciting for a somewhat quantitatively-oriented guy like me. (I could have also just manually added in Google Analytics to do the same thing, but it seemed like more trouble than it was worth).

One thing WordPress lets you do is track where your visitors are coming from. Particularly of note to someone like me trying to get their blog off the ground, in the extremely short history of this blog, nearly all of users have come from Facebook.

Now that should be pretty obvious, given that I’ve primarily advertised posts on my personal newsfeed to this point in time. But I’m asking Supposedly Good readers to consider another method: RSS Feeds.

While there is nothing particularly new about RSS clients, it was only very recently that I personally began to comprehend their power. I started a Google Reader account a while ago, but I never really used it all that much. It just didn’t seem any more useful than going to the individual sites and reading their entries on their pages with their pretty site designs.

A few months ago, however, a friend told me he was using Google Reader to go through literally hundreds of posts a day in a pretty short period of time. While initially skeptical about whether this was possible, let alone desirable (who has time to read all that stuff in one day anyways?), I decided to give Google Reader a more serious look.

I began with about ten or so blogs, mainly ones that were pretty mainstream and regularly had links roundups to other sites, or ones that I had regularly visited in the past directly through their webpage (like some of the music blogs in my blog roll). During this process, I would find other new blogs that seemed like they consistently delivered new and interesting content and add them to my Google Reader account. Sometimes I would add blogs from businesses or organizations that post infrequently, just to keep track of what they’re up to and so that I don’t forget them.

Over time, I’ve managed to accumulate a large number (embarrassingly large) of blogs into my Google Reader account, with daily posts in my inbox reaching in the hundreds. I am able to get through these at a brisk pace by scanning headlines and only reading those posts that actually seem interesting. Longer posts might be worth a right click into a new tab for later reading, while others may barely get a half second scan. Blogs that aren’t producing content that interests me anymore get dropped. Those that produce 60x/day and/or prove too overwhelming a time commitment might also have to be cut.

I’ve found that this constant process of adding and removing blogs, as well as scanning Google Reader on a daily basis allows me to stay on top of both news and my interests way more effectively than before I started using an RSS Reader. Seeing all the cool stuff coming through my Google Reader account was another key motivation for why I started this blog (as if there weren’t enough already. [End preachy personal story]

[Begin unsolicited advice] So if you don’t have a Google Reader or other RSS Feed account, I’d definitely recommend getting one as it can really expose you to lots of cool things (like from this past week’s links roundup). [End unsolicited advice; begin shameless plug] and also be sure to add Supposedly Good to your account once you’ve set one up to keep track of the latest and greatest from yours truly. [End shameless plug]

Alright, well maybe the entire post was motivated by the shameless plug, but the preachy personal story is entirely genuine. Give RSS a chance. I promise it will reward.

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A non-introduction for a blog without a real focus

While trying assiduously to write my first post for Supposedly Good (delayed by holidays, writer’s block, and other excuses), I kept thinking about what I was really trying to accomplish by writing it. Will it be a music blog with some restaurant recommendations? Will it be a place to share things I find cool from my Google Reader feed? Will it be usable or filled with useless social commentary on subjects only I find interesting? I have been entirely unable to decide.

At the end of the day, I realized my purpose in writing Supposedly Good is nothing less than a personal exploration of modern urban culture (primarily through music, food, and ideas) as seen by a typical 20-something living in New York City.

This makes Supposedly Good exactly like thousands of other blogs in the blogosphere, most of which have a following of the author and their 5-10 internet savvy friends.

So why am I even bothering with something as potentially time-consuming and draining as blogging on ever-evolving scenes such as music, food, culture, radical ideas, and whatever else comes to mind? To start, it comes down to this simple yet brilliant motto a friend wrote in a piece that eventually was picked up by a major blog, which has subsequently brought her 1000 hits a day: “Blog for no one but your self; edit for the entire world.

I will be perfectly honest and admit my aspirations go somewhat beyond blogging for myself. I (or whoever else eventually writes for this blog) hope to provide something worthwhile for anyone who adds Supposedly Good to their RSS feed or otherwise reads it with some regularity. I will try to gradually roll out some semi-regular features, provide links to things I find interesting, chime in with opinions, and the like. At the end of the day, while being motivated by writing for oneself is the best way to keep a blog going, the only way to build a readership is to translate that to something useful and interesting.

(There is another justification in the About SG section in a tab at the top of the blog. I wrote it a few weeks ago before writing this first post. That’s pretty much true as well, but I keep finding more good reasons to get going with this blogging thing, so consider it a supplement.)

You might be wondering about the selection of the blog’s title, “Supposedly Good.” In the age of Facebook likes, Yelp, and Pitchfork, we as consumers of culture in all its various forms are constantly inundated with suggestions that things around us are “Good,” “Four stars,” or even “Perfect (10.0). In a day when no source can be reliably trusted, we can only treat these recommendations not as absolutes, but supposed absolutes. Only through personal experience can one effectively validate these claims. Supposedly Good, if it does have some focus, will seek to look at products (physical, cultural, and those that come in other forms) that are “supposedly good” and make its own conclusions on whether they should be accepted. It would be hypocritical to ask the readers of this blog to accept the opinions represented here fully, but the goal here is only to keep you reading, not to make absolute judgments that everyone should instantly trust.

Alright, enough of the over-indulgent, cliché, and unexciting philosophizing on the blog’s purpose. I felt I had to start somewhere. Here’s hoping Supposedly Good proves to be a fun and interesting read for everyone.