“Hot Topic” Blogging, The News Cycle and You

Those of us who are primarily political bloggers tend to find that we get buried in blog feeds from time to time. We try to keep up on the latest topics, find blogs that are watching those topics, add their feeds to our readers and promptly forget why they’re there. In fact, before long our feed readers become a prison rather than the tools they’re supposed to be.

But if you want to keep up with things, you’re going to need to use feeds to do it. Does this necessarily mean getting crushed with too much information? No, it doesn’t, and I’d like to use this post to suggest some time-saving ways of getting your information.

Those of you who use Bloglines may have encountered their new “Playlists” feature. This is hugely beneficial for quick sweeps of information. By creating new playlists, you can see all the most recent headlines for all the feeds in that list at a glance, thereby eliminating the need to click through every single feed looking for what you need.

But of course, relying on other people’s blogs to be informed isn’t always a good option. After all, even if they’re informed on your topic, they may not always talk about things you need to know. No sense wading through someone’s reality when you don’t have to. As a solution to this, there is the little-discussed set of tools from Google, their news and blog search feeds. If you search for a topic on either of these two sections of Google and look to the left, you will see links to get the RSS or Atom feed. That’s not just any old feed, that’s basically a custom feed of your search terms! Any new blog posts or news items (respectively) that fit the criteria of your search will immediately become available to your new feed. Of course, you may need to fiddle with your search terms to get what you want, but with patience you can get a laser-sharp search going and be straight on top of the whole issue!

How about Yahoo!Pipes? Ever heard of them? Well, here’s a great way to mash up a bunch of individual feeds into one, thereby eliminating the need for feed after feed of information. With a bit of practice and creativity, you could potentially search all the major news or blog search services at once and have all that information plugged into a new feed for your reader!

These are just a few creative suggestions to boost your productivity and hone your research to make you a more on-point blogger. What other ways have you found to make managing all that blogosphere more manageable?