Today’s “Thing” was Awareness Tools. No, it’s not digital caffeine to keep your computer running when it’s low on juice or anything like that. Awareness Tools are web sites that gather content that you might be interested in and further filtering the content to make the content you see as specific as possible.  This is similar to an RSS feed, except these websites are the actual collectors and filters for websites, whereas you had to subscribe to an RSS feed subscription on other websites, provided they had one.  I found that this technology, much like other “Things” we have studied over the summer this year, is a great way to organize and sift through the Internet, which can be an astoundingly big and (sometimes) overwhelming place to wander.

But, as Tolkien said, “Not all those who wander are lost,” and with some of the websites we learned about, we can have the tools required to not feel so lost in large wonderland we call in the Internet. Two of my favorite sites are Digg, a web site which sorts other web sites primarily according to “diggs,” which are like thumbs up or thumbs down. If something gets a positive digg, it starts to accumulate the diggs. With enough of these virtual thumbs up, more people get to see the highly popular website. This is great for breaking news or even silly Internet memes. My other favorite is Google News, Google’s news sorting web site. I like this one because it lets me see what news is the most popular or recent.


  1. crandles on 06.13.2010

    Digg & Google News are definitely pretty useful. There are way too many news sites out there, and while RSS readers can help aggregate these into one location, you might not always be exposed to the “best” information. Using something like Digg, you can see a wider variety of sources than you are already familiar with, and if you go by the “diggs”, you can see which stories are more popular. Google News is used by a lot of people, and their news aggregation algorithms seem to be up to par for most users, so that’s another great website for catching up on the news.

  2. anna on 06.14.2010

    Points for the Tolkein reference. And extra double points for ‘digital caffeine’, which I am pretty sure we should invent and then market on