What to read on the internets

Back in June, I spent a week exploring “digital literacy” at an institute sponsored by the UNC-Charlotte National Writing Project (NWP) site.  My fellow educators and I read and wrote blog posts, dipped our toes into Twitter, and experimented with new forms of composition that blend words with images, animation and sound.

My week of delving into writings and videos in various on-line venues made me painfully aware of how restricted my own interactions with the internet have been in recent years.  I visit a very limited number of sites — I come here every day, I check in on Facebook daily, I read a couple of on-line publications (Slate, Salon, my ten free NY Times articles each month, and my local paper), I read one friend’s blog, and I check my email. I also do a lot of mindless clicking around on Yahoo! and Wikipedia. Occasionally I indulge my funny bone with a 1/2 hour of Funny or Die clips.

No one made me limit my on-line readings in this way.  I did it myself — without even thinking about it, I settled into a routine of logging onto the internet three to five times a day, clicking on  the sites saved on my bookmark bar (sometimes twice….just to see if I’d missed anything in the two minutes since I last checked), reading a few articles, then wrapping it up with a nice Facebook click-fest.

So, I decided it was time to intentionally explore the internets beyond my own bookmark bar.

I read my way through multiple articles and blogs on the NWP’s Digital Is site, a collection of writings about what it means to teach in “our digital, interconnected world.” Through Twitter, I discovered a great collection of blogs by principals (who knew there were so many reflective, thoughtful principals out there!). Curious to see what fellow liberal-leaning Christians might be blogging about, I typed “Episcopal blogs”  and “progressive Christian blogs” into Google and discovered that they were blogging about quite a lot — a few of the blogs I discovered through that search have  become regular reading: The Episcopal Cafe, At the Edge of the Enclosure, and The High Calling (which sounds like it could be a pretentious horror show, but offers up a great collection of down-to-earth writings about living at the intersection of faith, family, work and culture).

My experiment in wider internet reading has been good for me.  First, it’s helping me break my habit of mindlessly clicking on the same few sites and links again and again (and again).  Second, the wider reading is getting me to think a bit more, reflect a bit more, question a bit more.  Work has been so stressful for the past year that I’ve narrowly focused on my own small set of work/life dilemmas and haven’t been thinking much beyond that. Wider browsing and wider reading is helping me to look up and out a bit more.  Finally, reading more is moving me to write more — in my journal, here, and hopefully soon in some other on-line spaces.

Now that I’ve expanded my internet reading a bit, I’d like to continue to draw my circle wider.  What are some things you read that I might like? What are your go-to sites? What should I be reading on the internets?

By mkkendrick

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13 thoughts on “What to read on the internets

  1. Yeah…I’m so boring. I just haven’t found anything that grabs my attention the way MT’s does. I’m a email, FB, MT kind of chick.

    I do check xkcd, Undercover in the Suburbs, Crappy Pictures, and a few others…but more in a random, I’m bored, sort of way.

    I’d love some other stuff to look at. Just not quite sure where to look. There soooo much crap out there.

    • Yep, filtering through the crap is a problem — doubly worse is that the fact that I get very distracted by the crap and spend more time wallowing around in it than I should.

      I just “liked” Undercover in the Suburbs so it will show up in my FB feed — that is something I WOULD not have found on my own.

      I’m going to play around with StumbleUpon to see what kind of stuff I find through that site.

  2. Oh, this thread is a great idea. I have the same problem. Mainly I am here, FB or dKos. Sometimes I go to Slate, Salon or TalkingPointsMemo. I read Gawker and Jezebel on the mobile versions, but I don’t like their website version as much. I have started reading the Guardian via their app, and that has been enjoyable. Sometimes I look at Google News and follow links through there. Occasionally Buzzfeed or Boing Boing but not very much at all really.

    • I have a Twitter account but I have somewhat abandoned it. My DH loves Twitter but I don’t like how short it is. But the one thing I miss is the links. People link to stuff I wouldn’t see otherwise.

      • My DH loves twitter too — mostly because it allows him to throw out one-sentence riffs on the universe all. day. long. I find Twitter overwhelming. I find that TweetDeck helps. I put all the threads I’m interested on there, and then I kind of browse through them now and again to see what kind of links people are throwing out there.

    • I just popped over and checked out The Guardian and TPM — wasn’t aware either of them existed, but I think I’ll like them. Adding them to my bookmark list now.

  3. I like the High Calling…..some good stuff there.

    I spend time on Huffington Post [hate their headline writers but get a good overview of the stories that are out there each day], TPM, here, FB, twitter, and then onto the more mindless stuff — Go Fug Yourself, STFU,Parents blog and Pinterest. Occasional visits to tmz and celebrity-babies.com.

    • My brain is on summer-slow…it took me a while to figure out what “STFU” was…I love celebrity-babies.com, but I have to stay away from it…it’s like crack…celebrity photos PLUS cute kids…two of my greatest weaknesses.

  4. My interent browsing is limited too. Mainly I check MT, reddit, nbcnews, and my local paper. Sometimes I go to dkos. I have a twitter account but never tweet , only follow humor stuff. If Cracked tweets about an interesting article then I will go read it.

  5. For mindless pure eyeball … candy? or whatever the opposite of candy is? … I was just looking at Photoshop Disasters. It is full of bizarre magazine and newspaper images with weird Photoshop mistakes, like a tabloid photo of Whitney Houston, but their errant image manipulation meant she had three hands. Oopsie. Some of them are kind of blah but there are others that are quite funny.

  6. Jezebel!! I have to go there at least once a day – some stuff is loosely related to news stories, some celebrity gossip, and some just fun feminist stuff. I love that DD reads it regularly, too, so we share back and forth!

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