Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Roll your own blogwatch

John Hughes, the Chief Tech Guru (and former letters editor) of the Sacramento Bee opinion pages has developed a marvelous blog aggregation system that pretty much anybody can adapt to their own use. Given these off-the-shelf tools and John's guidelines, you could have a robust site that collects all the most interesting blogs form your area up and online right away. The investment, in time and dollars, is minimal.

There are a number of iterations, but the best intro is found at a site they call ipsoSacto: a taste of our blogosphere. From there, you can link to pages that let you sample a pre-determined listing of Sacramento-area blogs, or tailor a page to your own tastes.

We all need to be in the aggregation game. Simply put, you need to become the central clearinghouse for all the digital, online media in your area -- your own staff, amateurs, competitors. As the established marketplace and name brand, the newspaper site has built-in advantages, but if you don't do it, somebody else will. There's a genuine first-mover advantage here. If you get there first, promote the site online and in paper and offer choices, you should be able to become the dominant source.

That makes using a simple system like John's even more attractive. You don't have to wait for programmers to get around to writing some special software for you, or adapting some complex system you can't manage. This is truly aggregation for the rest of us, and there's little excuse for not trying it now. (You can reach john by clicking on the "Contact" tab at the ipsoSacto site).
–Howard Weaver

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