First off, let me preface this by saying that I know this isn’t groundbreaking for some people, and the tools I’m going to mention about have been around for years. With that said, I still feel obligated to share this tip since a majority of the people I talk to on a day-to-day basis aren’t familiar with Delicious or other online bookmarking tools.
A while back I read Charlie Hoehn’s post on How to Hack Someone’s Mind, and was inspired to start using Delicious to figure out what my favorite authors & bloggers were reading. It’s funny how often people ask me, “Where do you find all these random links/videos/articles online?”. Sometimes it makes me feel like people don’t know how to browse the Internet. But let’s be honest, it’s not like people are born with some innate skill of finding content online; they only improve on finding new links by spending countless hours reading blogs and searching through endless amounts of trash until they find what really interests them. This can be tedious and, to someone who has a full time job and a busy schedule, a waste of time. In fact, the main reason I found the time to learn how to do this was because I was unemployed at the time.
That’s why I wanted to lay out my strategy for finding new content online. I think experiencing new things and exposing yourself to randomness is eye-opening and a necessity in self-education, and it’s something everyone can benefit from with a few easy steps:
- Go to Delicious right now, create an account, and install an add-on to your browser (there are different add-ons for each browser). If you need a crash course on how Delicious works and how to use it, feel free to check out this Mahalo post.
- Once you’ve installed the add-on, you’ll be able to bookmark content you come across online with ease. Sure, this won’t help you find new content, but now you’re able to go back to any random crap you find online. The beauty of Delicious is that you don’t have to be using your personal computer or work computer, all you have to do is go to your user URL and all your content will be stored. If you want to see an example of what this will look like, feel free to check out my Delicious URL.
- Next, you need to sign up for Google Reader, if you’re not signed up already (here’s some help from Mashable on how you use Google Reader). In case you don’t know how RSS works, it basically delivers content you subscribe to through a feed. This will be helpful once you’ve found people to follow on Delicious.
- After your Google Reader account and Delicious accounts are set-up, you will need to find some people on Delicious to follow. The easiest way to find people is to just ask them if they use Delicious. If they do, get their user name so you can find them on the website by typing in the delicious.com/their user name (e.g. http://www.delicious.com/username).
- If you don’t know anyone currently using Delicious, but are already following some blogs, try to find a link to their account on their website. Many bloggers will link their Delicious accounts somewhere on their website, you just need to find it.
- If you don’t read many blogs, you will need to sift through the links people are posting by clicking the “Explore Tags” button. Start typing in tags that interest you. Select a few links, and if you find something that really gets you jacked, click the user name of the person who posted it.
- Once you’ve found a user to follow, all you need to do is copy the URL of the user’s Delicious you’re currently viewing, and add it as a subscription in your Google Reader. To do this, just click “Add a Subscription” in Google Reader.
Voila! Now you are subscribed to see every bookmark your chosen user decides to save to their Delicious account. All you have to do is log onto Google Reader, and whenever that person bookmarks a site, it will show up in your feed. Once you’ve added several different Delicious users, you’ll able to find a boat load of interesting content all over the web. If you ever start getting bored of the content you’re finding, try searching for the Delicious accounts of the authors creating your favorite bookmarked articles or blog posts. You’ll be surprised how many people use Delicious and are openly sharing their bookmarks. Good luck, and beware, it’s addicting!