Myself and James are having an interesting debate over on Eirepreneur about OPML and feeds. It starts an interesting debate on how to introduce new people to blogs and feeds. I like the idea of the open Irish directory but don’t like the fact that it is so cold and isolationist. I’d like to see each node in the directory having a quick content preview besides having to go off and click some more to then read and site and find you don’t like it.
I started off reading sites like BoingBoing and Slashdot which linked to other sites that supplied them with info and I followed those links, quickly becoming a fan of Metafilter and Memepool and so on. As my daily sites to read went up I found that an aggregator was called for. I started off with about 15 sites and as I found more interesting sites I added them and removed sites I fell out of love with.
If I was to try and get Irish people using an aggregator now I’d prepopulate it. Something like the IrishBlogs aggregator but more based on everything that is in the blogroll of every IrishBlogger(like an Irish Tailrank) and a small best of list created as a result of this.
The idea would be that when someone signs up they are asked for their favourite websites. These would then automatically be put into their aggregator. Then they’d be asked what areas interest them the most and from this some backend wizardry technology would go through everything in the Irish Blog rolls and make recommendations. The initial blogroll should be no more than 15 sites in total (plus the users favs) and the user then should be allowed to add more or remove some as they go along. I would have one feed displaying at most 10 feeds from the IrishBlogs aggregator as this could intrduce the user to something they would not normally look at. Call it the “wildcard” feed. Or maybe have this “wildcard” feed comprised of the most bumped posts from the day before.
The Google generation wants simple and they want results given right here, right now. Clicking these days seems too time consuming.