Last Friday, I asked each of you the following question:
If you could put 10 RSS feeds in a folder called “MUST READ” that you check first and always, which 10 would you choose?
There were a few responses in the comments section. I got a few more via email and still more from friends on Twitter when I posed the five-count version a few days before the blog post. Thanks to those who responded. You gave me some great suggestions for the development of my own.
As promised in yesterday’s post, which lists 10 ways to manage your feed reading time, I said I would tell you what 10 blogs are in my “Must Read” folder, as well as those in my “Outstanding” folder. These two groups are my top priorities when reading my RSS feeds. I think you’ll find them strong additions to your readers, if not ones already there. Consider them my recommendations for you to add to your reader for 2008.
These are in no particular order, and I promise not intended to simply suck up to these people.
Lots of people are drinking this guy’s Kool-Aid. Having met and chatted with him briefly, as well as had some brief exchanges with him online, I can tell you why. He’s brilliant. Though I’m becoming a bit annoyed with the lemming-like reaction we have to him and frustrated he keeps changing rooms on us (one day we comment on the blog, the next we Twitter, then we go do responses on Facebook â€¦ it’s like he’s made a game of playing us), the guy gives proven, solid advice and thinks on a higher plane than most of us. If you’re in the social media space and don’t read him, you’re lost.
Valeria is another higher-plane thinker I enjoy reading. She truly is an agent of conversation and I’m routinely engaged by her posts. The variety she offers in topic, but within my array of thinking is her greatest strength, in my opinion. She writes about brands/marketing, public relations, social media and similar topics and does so with audience engagement in mind. My only complaint is that she often writes so well and covers so many bases, I sometimes don’t have anything to say in response since I think, “Great post!” as a comment entry is lame.
THINKing â€“ Harry Hoover (Subscribe Here)
Harry seems to be an old school PR guy who gets the new vibes of social media. This makes him a pretty valuable resource in my estimation. The experience and polish of someone who has been in the PR business for a few years is a none-too-often found asset. (I promise I’m not trying to make you sound old, Double-H.) His writing is often crisp and to the point, but the best always is. He brings advice and reminders of what public relations really is and relates it to subjects of the day. He comes across as a trusted source. So I read him regularly.
This is one of the few “how to blog” sites I pay attention to. There are a couple other good ones out there, but Darren is the master and, oh by the way, one of the top 25 web celebs. I like the fact that he not only goes over technical aspects like linkbaiting, blog promotion, feed optimization and such, but also that he throws in writing tips and pointers on how to produce better content. The guy is the blogger’s blogger and you can’t go wrong checking him out.
Chris Brogan might be the most genuinely interesting and interested guy you’ll ever meet. I’ve had the pleasure of slurping down some heavily spiked fruity concoctions with him and even a little snookered, he’s interested in having conversations with people about just about anything. The thing I like about him as a blogger, though, is that he is very giving. His current “100 Posts” theme is a prime example of how Brogie connects with people. He is taking 100 posts to inform, engage and empower his audience to do more with social media and make their lives, jobs, etc., better. And, though he could charge an arm and a leg for the same advice, it’s all there, free for the taking.
Communications Overtones â€“ Kami Huyse (Subscribe Here)
Another blogger from the PR side of my preferences, Kami Huyse offers interesting and insightful posts about public relations, social media, marketing and more. Like Valeria Maltoni, it’s her variety I enjoy so much. She breaks down Twitter one day, waxes philosophical about PR another, then discusses brand evangelism the next. I’m not a big fan of the del.icio.us links posted directly to one’s blog, which Kami uses to supplement her content, but her’s are some of the few I pay attention to.
Like Jeremiah Owyang and social media, there are few people interested in marketing and public relations who don’t subscribe to Geoff. Not only do Geoff and staff continually engage us with posts on (yet another great array) a variety of topics, but often uplift similar blogs and point us to them with their Great Blogs On Fire updates. And I have to admit a proud moment occurred last night when I found Geoff’s first-ever comment on Social Media Explorer. Quite an honor.
Had to get someone in here from Canadia. Eric is a true PR blogger which is why I enjoy his blog so. His posts do hit a variety of topics, but are in a public relations pro’s wheelhouse. His quick tips are always full of useful reminder information you need to hear every now and then, like “use parallel sentence structure,” and other useful things you forget to think about most days. And he does a good job of pointing folks to other bloggers with useful information â€¦ and I’m not necessarily referring to me.
Ike is a communicator in the truest sense of the term. He’ll churn out 700-word posts philosophizing about public relations, toss out short explanations of how to best utilize social media tools in certain situations, bring some humanity to this whole blog thing with a video of his kid singing in the bathtub or make an entire post out of a thought-provoking quote. He always leaves you with something to think about or something to ask and even more than, “What the hell does Occam’s RazR mean?” Certainly it helps I watched Ike as a television reporter during my years in Birmingham and am just interested in what he’s doing because he’s a familiar face, but I find myself wanting to respond to his posts more often than others and that is the ultimate judge of who is on this list.
I have two items tacked on my office wall just above my computer screen. The first is Todd Defren’s Social Media Newsroom template. The other is his Social Media Release template. I don’t mind saying I’ve probably learned more from reading PR Squared than from any other blog in the last two years. A lot of what Todd has written is bouncing around up there in my brain, but he connects the dots and gets it all on paper (guess we need a new phrase for that, huh) before anyone else does. There’s a reason the guy is pointed to as one of the leaders in the social media revolution. I wouldn’t miss one of his posts for much of anything.
Now, before some of my public relations and social media colleagues, not to mention my friends, start getting all upset they are in my “Must Read” folder, allow me to share my list of “Outstanding” blogs in my second priority file. These blogs have the potential of rotating into the “Must Read” group depending upon topic, frequency of posts, etc. They aren’t less important than my top 10, I just find myself not commenting on them quite as often.
My Outstanding List
- A Shel Of My Former Self
- Tough Sledding
- Collective Thoughts
- Common Craft
- Media Bullseye
- Now Is Gone
- POP! PR Jots
- PR 2.0
- PR. Differently
- Read/Write Web
- Social Media Optimization
- Vandelay Website Design
- Online Marketing Blog
There are probably 40 more blogs I would consider important reads, but I organize them within folders specific to their main topics. (And for the record, Todd Earwood is filed in my “Friends Folder” â€“ just so he doesn’t have a hissy on me.) Also keep in mind these lists are fluid. I’ll add probably five blogs to my Outstanding folder and move 1-2 into the Must Read folder (and 1-2 out to the Outstanding depending upon frequency of posts, etc.) each month.
Now that we’ve got that out there, it’s your turn. Pimp your blog, your feed or the blog and feed of one of your favorite sites in the comments section. Remember to share as much as possible â€¦ the more interaction and folks that participate, the broader range of information we all choose from when learning and growing.