Blogwise serendipitation or, a view from the cheeseboard

A review of recent (last couple of weeks) postings has revealed very little in the way of coherent, planned writing from me and a lot of “Wow, look at what I’ve found!” links of various grades of cheese. Well, by cheese I mean everything from Dairylea Cheese Slices to Montgomery’s Cheddar, by way of my current favourite, Norwegian Jarlsberg.
One of the questions that may occur to the discerning reader, as it certainly did to me, is what is the process by which these strange places are discovered? There’s probably some sort of university thesis in this, or at least a GCSE Media Studies piece of coursework. I think some explanations are called for. Before I begin these, I should state that: (a) these explanations are not necessarily rational, (b) they are not necessarily comprehensive and (c) even stating these caveats probably says more than enough about my personality than I would really like to be revealed to you, the great unwashed readership out there (mainly in Australia, for some reason).
Blog Mashing
This is the process by which one simply hits the “Next Blog” button up in the top right hand corner of the blog (still hosted by Blogger) and seeing what has most recently been updated. These fall into four main categories: (a) brass – the sort of blogs which are full of links like “Arkansas Real Estate”, “Arkansas Realtors” etc., (b) bronze – sun-tanned teenagers sharing their angst and their appalling taste in what is euphemistically called “popular music”, (c) silver – people talking about their lives or the world in general in intelligent and interesting ways and (c) gold – those exceptional blogs that one is going to return to time and time again for the sheer pleasure of reading the writing.
del.icio.us
This is a relatively new discovery for me and one of the most interesting places for finding new places. You’ll see that the sidebar of this blog has a feed from my del.icio.us, which is a place for storing links online and tagging them for easy retrieval. The cunning things about del.icio.us are that the list is always ordered in time – you can see what I’m tracking and linking to at any moment – and that, by looking at the list of tagged links, you can see how many other people have tagged the same places. Herein lies the serendipity, that someone who has linked to one site you want to return to may well have similar interests to you. It’s possible to see who else has linked to a site and then have a look at their tags. This is probably one of the most interesting ways of navigating into strange and wonderful digital waters I’ve found yet.
Googling
Not a big part of my online life at the moment. There was a time when I’d bang in a keyword and just see what came up, but now I tend only to use it to find sites I don’t have stored elsewhere, and then they end up in my del.icio.us.
Other People’s Links
Occasionally I follow llinks from other people’s blogs and they can go to wonderful places, but more often this is a process of following suggested links in discussion boards that reflect my interests.
There. I hope that’s been of some help to you; it’s been useful to me and I feel much more capable of getting out into the frozen hills today to do some more squarebagging. Remote, frozen lochans, here I come.

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