Where do you discover the links you post to the blue? December 10, 2009 11:07 AM   Subscribe

Where do you people find the things you post to the "blue", and how do you consistently find them before the rest of us? Specifically to those of you who make art or photography posts here on Metafilter, where do you first learn of the things you link here? Reddit? Stumbleupon? Digg? Certain blogs? Where is the bleeding edge of the internet?

(At a mod's suggestion, I am reposting this now deleted question from AskMe.)

This question is motivated by my frustration at having over 20 failed attempts at posting something to the front page only to learn on preview that it was already posted a few days or weeks before. Where is everyone finding all these interesting links?
posted by Pastabagel to MetaFilter-Related at 11:07 AM (88 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

Apparently, Kottke
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:10 AM on December 10, 2009 [5 favorites]

I don't post things I see first on Waxy, Daring Fireball, Boingboing, Kottke and other alpha blogs, largely because I figure they're already circulating, already posted to Mefi, or have the potential to be posted to Mefi by somebody who can do a better job of it than I can. Or, in the case of Digg, Reddit, etc., the subjects are as likely as not to be rehashes of Mefi posts from years ago.

Does anybody use Stumbleupon besides New Media marketers and SEOs?

My posts are mostly inspired by the blogs and other websites I tend to visit, tweets from people I follow on Twitter, and so on; you can see in my posting history that there are a few topics I tend post on frequently, just because I think they're interesting enough to the general world to be brought out from the corner of the world currently discussing them.

This makes me sound like a one-note poster, but I hope my interests are diverse enough to avoid that.
posted by ardgedee at 11:16 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I read a lot of things in print, that make me wonder about more information about such them, so I look them up on the internet. Any sort of history or art text will have tons of little nuggets that they don't really cover in depth, but which can made into nice posts with a bit of Googling.

Mind you, I haven't had time to make all those posts, but damn if there isnt' a nice list in my head.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:18 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Heh, came in to say 'kottke'.

I have a couple of reliable blogs I visit regularly for links, a couple more I visit strictly to explore their sidebar buddy list things, and a couple of other mefi-esque community link aggregators/discussion sites. Whenever I wind up at a website I like, especially a personal site/gallery, I always make sure to check out the 'links' page and see who or what they want to send me off towards. It's always hit-and-miss, mostly miss. I have no clue how the people who churn out a post per day keep the content coming.
posted by carsonb at 11:19 AM on December 10, 2009

Does anybody use Stumbleupon besides New Media marketers and SEOs?

I use StumbleUpon a whole lot, but usually only on the Wikipedia channel. Here, I'll do it right now and probably find something awesome.


First stumble.
posted by oinopaponton at 11:21 AM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]

I'm very new to this but my interests run toward law and politics and I am a total news hound, so when I see something interesting/significant breaking, I start cruising to assemble a post. And now and then I encounter an artist in the brick and mortar world and check to see if they have a good website . . . that has worked out as an FPP only once so far.

This is a great question because MeFi posts tend to run extraordinarily timely and interesting. I'm fascinated to find out from whence they originate.
posted by bearwife at 11:22 AM on December 10, 2009

Gold miner 1: Where do you keep finding all that gold?
Gold miner 2: I'm not going to tell you that. If I do, you'll go get the gold before I can.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:22 AM on December 10, 2009 [4 favorites]

Pastabagel, I totally admire your perseverance. I had numerous posts shot down, but I considered giving up before I posted to the grey...so go you!

I would advise you against compiling a laundry list of sites where other MeFites haunt. Generally speaking, someone will find and post before you do.

This is arguable of course, but several sources have called boing boing and MetaFilter the bleeding edge of the internet. That's because you have a lot of people who work in interesting arenas posting tidbits from their areas of expertise. The tidbits trickle down from here. I have several sites feeding to my Google Reader, and I'm always amazed at the overlap from various sites. As soon as something hits gizmodo, its own MetaFilter, boing boing, and Lifehacker.

The most interesting thing used to be watching Conan the next day or Weekend Update that Saturday and realizing that more than a handful of NBC writers must be on these sites.

I would encourage you to examine your own interests and your own network. What do you tend to know about first. For example, I study theology and hear about some things before other people might.
posted by jefficator at 11:23 AM on December 10, 2009

I suspect I read a lot of the same non-political content sources a lot of people here read. To the limited extent that I've made FPPs, I look for minor topics from those sources and try to build them out with related things that people here likely haven't read due to obscurity, poor original presentation, etc.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:26 AM on December 10, 2009

Generally if it makes it to some other aggregator, it isn't bleeding edge anymore. The best thing to do is lump of bunch of things into Google Reader so you can get them from the source. I do this for photography - but that is easier when you're in the photography business. I think a lot of the best posts come from people who are at least emotionally invested in the thing they're posting about. Not a self-link, but at least an inside track on the industry/subject that the link is about.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 11:31 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Huh. So after perusing waxy, kottke and daringfireball, the impish statistician in me wants to analyze the passing of links among these sites, MeFi, and BoingBoing (maybe Arts & Letters Daily?) and model how long one would expect before a link posted on Site X appeared on Site Y.

But as a follow-up to my original question, where are these places getting their links from? What are the original sources for new content?
posted by Pastabagel at 11:33 AM on December 10, 2009

(repeating what another poster said on the deleted thread)
Looking for one thing and finding something interesting (and usually unrelated) along the way.
posted by forforf at 11:33 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't understand why you think these people should share. If they did, people with less discriminating taste would just post the second, third... etc, best links from those places on the blue and then when they themselves came to MeFi they'd have to wade through the twaddle they'd already waded through elsewhere.

I've posted a few art/photo FPPs, though I doubt I'm one of the people you're referring to. However, I'll chime in to say that I never go to any of the sites you referred to. I'll also add that my main objective in making any FPP is to do so with one link. I feel strongly that if the one link alone interests me without a bunch of crazy filler, it'll interest others. I don't look for topics to post, but a single thing to post.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:33 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

I tend to spend my non-Mefi internet time at some Civil War blogs, toy soldier blogs, and comic book and illustration art blogs and my posts reflect that. I'll post some photos of a guy with the Battle of Gettysburg set up in his backyard and that post will garner a dozen comments. I consider my work here done and move on. Except for the comic book stuff, I really don't have much competition on getting this stuff to the front page first.

I never have, and never really tried to, post the "next great thing on the internet" like the recent Muppet "Bohemian Rhapsody" post. I hear about 99% of that type of thing from Metafilter. I'm not saying that's what you're trying to do, but if there is some off-the-wall topic you are interested in, like the study of neolithic pottery shards discovered in peat bogs, and you find an awesome site documenting said shards, post it and someone will be glad you did because they are also totally into that or someone else will be glad because it is interesting and they knew nothing about it.

I've also done my share of GYOB type posts (not in a ranty way, but in a gather a bunch of links on a subject way). I know some folks don't like those type of posts, but they've been nice enough not to shit in them either. Even when doing those types of posts, I try to tie it into a significant anniversary or try to make sure the links are pretty damn good.

To answer your question, I tend to focus my posts around narrow enough interests that there is not much competition.
posted by marxchivist at 11:33 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I don't make front page posts very often, and they tend to tank, so take what I say with a grain of salt...but, almost every FPP I've made has been inspired by something not originally found on the internet. If I went to a talk and somebody presented something interesting, or shared their website, I looked into it. If I am researching a topic for a paper, such as humor, sex, or politics, I usually birdwalk onto post-worthy branches of the internet. Sometimes something heard on NPR or through a book review will inspire me to flesh out a post around a certain subject, such as armadillos or bad sex fiction. On the internet, Delicious and Google Reader are big sources of "oh, hey, neat stuff!" Subscribe to everything! I also have a separate email address dedicated to subscriptions to newsletters, contests, updates, etc. This also separates my important stuff from my browsy/junk stuff.

All that said, I've learned that once you find something neat...it's usually not enough (I have the tanks and deletions to prove it!) Take it further. You just read a good article? Great. What's the opposing view? How did people used to think about this? Who wrote it? How do they fit into their field? Who are the other players? What are the implications for this idea/info/discovery down the road? Do some searching and make your link the centerpiece (or supporting link, depending on what you find) of a great post that takes the reader far down a road that they previously didn't even know existed.

Good luck!
posted by iamkimiam at 11:41 AM on December 10, 2009

and they tend to tank

Awesome armadillo post dude. (really)
posted by marxchivist at 11:46 AM on December 10, 2009

I'm not poster to the blue, but I've recently learned of the awesomest update process, which is setting up a Google Alert for ANYTHING YOU WANT and getting an RSS feed delivered to you.

It lets me keep track of key people in my field, what they're doing that's newsworthy, corporate news I want to keep track of, etc.

I'm pretty knocked out by it; I'm getting information I never would have stumbled upon on my own. I can't RSS everything. But this finds key stuff for me that is on sites that I don't visit or subscribe to or necessarily even know about.

Maybe everybody else already knows about this awesomeness.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 11:48 AM on December 10, 2009

I've only made one FPP. In that case, the guy who made the website self-linked in the comments of a blog post, and I saw it and thought "wow, that's really cool." I fleshed it out a little bit with some wikipedia links, but the substance of the post was one cool link that I pretty much sumbled upon.
posted by craichead at 11:50 AM on December 10, 2009

Like marchivist, I have obscure hobbies and interests and occasionally something cool comes up in the course of research or news that I think will appeal to a larger audience, and I post it. I've also posted comments and gotten enough interest in them that I flesh them out into a full-fledged post, but that's rare. I've done a few blog-style psots, but those were mostly just on subjects that I'm overly interested in that I thought could find an interested audience on Metafilter. As often as I get the idea for one of these, I'll look it up and find it's been done before so I leave it be. I've once done a stunt post just to see if I could push enough buttons to get a 100 comment thread, but that's bad form and I'd not do it again.

Honestly, I'm not sure how people who post twice or more a week do it. Maybe my standards are too high (Ha!) but I'm not interested in being a content creating machine and I have a personal blog for stuff I don't feel like really fits the Metafilter stylebook, so that scratches my broadcasting itch.

My recipe: concentrate on posting stuff that's interesting to you, and other people interested in the same stuff will naturally gravitate to it, and you'll have better posts and conversation in the long run.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:50 AM on December 10, 2009

Oh, totally forgot this but I also have a book from 2003 called '505 Unbelievably Stupid Web P@ges' which is chock full of comedy gold.
posted by carsonb at 11:52 AM on December 10, 2009

posted by kmz at 11:55 AM on December 10, 2009

Also, I'd highly recommend going through homunculus' posts. He did a good job of doing mentioning where he go links from and they turned out to be gold minds of interesting stuff, one of my favorite being linkfilter.net
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:55 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Generally if it makes it to some other aggregator, it isn't bleeding edge anymore.


Back when I was posting regularly, I had a job where the bulk of my day consisted of waiting for the phone to ring. So I had lots of time to search through lots of crap on del.icio.us looking for stuff to post. I'd just type in a tag or two and start poking around to see what was bookmarked, discount stuff that had lots of bookmarks (probably already well-known) and check out the rest. I'd probably discard 20 - 50 sites before I found something FPP worthy.

Ah, those were the days.....
posted by anastasiav at 11:57 AM on December 10, 2009

I find my links the same place I find all my snarky one-liners: Metafilter 5 minutes in the future.
posted by Artw at 12:07 PM on December 10, 2009

...how do you consistently find them before the rest of us?

"Before" implies a time-ordering that may not be relevant. For instance, the ASCII art map of Michigan. The poster there didn't find it "before" me in any meaningful sense, because I would never have come across it at all. They posted something from a region of interest-space that I don't visit.
posted by DU at 12:08 PM on December 10, 2009

Most of mine come from drifting around the internet, puttering around on sites that look like they have interesting stuff on them. Here's how I made my last dozen posts:

Chairman Mao's Underground City
The Viceland link came from the Atompunk mailing list and the other links were the best links I had found while watching and reading everything I could find about the Underground City online.

The Occupation of Alcatraz 1969-71
I came across a throwaway reference to it and started Googling around, reading and watching stuff and then constructed the post from the stuff I found most striking and informative.

Online courses on Western history
November 23rd is, of course, Byzantium day, so I was looking for interesting material about the Eastern Roman Empire online and came across the Byzantium page on that, clicked around to see if there was anything else interesting and after losing an hour or so reading various pages posted it to MetaFilter.

Ask the Editors @ Merriam-Webster's
I've long been a fan of Merriam-Webster's usage guides and these videos tipped the Ask the Editors blog into must-post territory for me. They were a devil to track down, though. I actually ended up writing an e-mail through their contact page to get the address.

A long article about the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 26th, 2008
I read The Virginia Quarterly Review fairly regularly (as my posting history proves). I read the parts as they came out and knew from the first part onwards that I'd post them to the Blue unless somebody else did it first.

Book of the Month
A Google search for… something (I don't remember anymore)… led me to the University of Glasgow Library digitized collections and I happily spent a couple of hours reading the various entries in the Book of the Month section.

Live Recordings from the 1959 Newport Jazz Festival
I read the article I linked to in The New York Times and then waited a few days until they posted the full archive (at first it was only three concerts, which I listened to quite a bit in the intervening days).

Wisconsin Death Trip
I spent my year abroad at Hampshire College so I was aware of Michael Lesy's book. Then something sparked the memory so I went looking to see what I could find about it online and then posted what I considered the best.

Writers on Writing
I liked the Wall Street Journal article and went looking for more stuff like it online and found the NYT series (which I had come across years before, back when it was being published, I think) and the radio show and after listening to a couple of podcasts decided that they all fit together reasonably well into one post.

"Biblioburro is a guy who comes on a donkey, he brings books."
I had read about Biblioburro back when that article appeared in the NYT and thought it was very interesting. Then jessamyn posted that video in her blog and then I went searching for more stuff online and gathered the better links into the post.

Enheduanna, the first poet we know by name
I came across some completely random throwaway reference to her and went Googling for info and when I resurfaced hours later I had that post pretty much ready. I'm still somewhat mystified why I had never heard of her before since she's pretty squarely within the bounds of what I've been interested in since I was a little boy.

The Surprisingly Accurately Named Thirty Years War
Every few years I try to understand what the hell happened and the fuck why in Northern Europe in the 17th Century and I generally end up realizing that I'm further away from understanding it than I thought I was when I started. That website was, however, a pretty damn good overview to the facts of The Thirty Years War and seemed perfect for MetaFilter, especially since it gave me an opportunity to post about the Second Defenestration of Prague and The Peace of Westphalia, defenestrations and Westphalian treaties being near and dear to the heart of the community.
posted by Kattullus at 12:09 PM on December 10, 2009 [14 favorites]

Like marchivist, I have obscure hobbies and interests and occasionally something cool comes up in the course of research or news that I think will appeal to a larger audience, and I post it.
Another vote for this, though on the specifically photography thing there's a few I've made because I do translation work for galleries sometimes and in dealing with them see something I think's good. Have made sure it's not the actual clients at the time though, as though no-one would know seems to skate the line on self-link a bit too much.
posted by Abiezer at 12:09 PM on December 10, 2009

Artw: I find my links the same place I find all my snarky one-liners: Metafilter 5 minutes in the future.

Hah! That explains why a couple of times I've been in the middle of making a post when you post the exact same link to the front page.
posted by Kattullus at 12:10 PM on December 10, 2009

Many posters identify their sources with a little "(via xyz blog)" at the end of their posts. That is a great way to find interesting sites.
posted by caddis at 12:13 PM on December 10, 2009

Sometimes a site like kottke can be your enemy though. For instance, he has a post up yesterday on "what would earth look like with saturn's rings"? It could easily bounce around all the other blogs and twitter at this point, and you go "oh, neat, Mefi-worthy!" But the same video was posted to Metafilter two weeks ago. And that was actually a double too, because the video was copied by someone, so it had a different YouTube link.
posted by smackfu at 12:13 PM on December 10, 2009

I've checked my FPP history and it seems like a lot of of them are related to arts, bikes, music and current events. Sometimes I run across a great link or video on some art/music/cycling site, or I hear something on the news that I want to dig into further. A couple of times, I'll make note on my calendar of a date that should be celebrated, like Holger Czukay's 70th birthday, and I'll plan a post for that day.

But sometimes I find things through various areas of MetaFilter itself. For example, Stumptuous is recommended a lot in AskMe, and I go there fairly frequently, so when I noticed the site redesign earlier this year, I checked to see if there had ever been an FPP, and surprisingly, there hadn't been. So I made a post meant to interest new people and alert the old-timers.

Pretty much the same thing happened with my post on the Museum of Menstruation. Some comments in a thread I had been reading earlier that evening reminded me of it, I checked for an FPP, several comments but no post existed, so I made a quick post. (On preview: who needs MetaFilter 5 minutes in the future when you've got it 5 minutes in the past?)

I used to post some things that had shown up on other well-known sites, but I'm more likely to leave those to other people these days. If it's viral, it will get here pretty soon.
posted by maudlin at 12:13 PM on December 10, 2009

Stuff I have found and posted ends up on delicious pretty quickly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:16 PM on December 10, 2009

Where is the bleeding edge of the internet?

There is no singular bleeding edge, there is no one MeFi-style high-profile link aggregator that could possibly answer to that name because, as noted above, once a decent link hits a high-profile site, it makes the rounds within a few days and it's no longer cutting-edge.

No, there is no singular bleeding edge. Instead, there are hundreds of millions of bleeding edges. Little microscopic shards of cutting edge, if you will. Any possible topic under the sun, any body of knowledge that the human mind can conceive of, will have its own gurus, its own mavens. A sub-set of those gurus will have off-the-radar blogs dedicated to those obscure interests. And that's where you'll find the good stuff.

Cultivate your interests with the same degree of geeky passion and you will find those blogs.

That's my advice to you.
posted by jason's_planet at 12:23 PM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

Here is a source that you could check out. It looks like others have already been through it, however.
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:29 PM on December 10, 2009

No, Holger turned 70 on March 24, 2008. But you can send him a birthday card now and claim post office error, I guess.
posted by maudlin at 12:36 PM on December 10, 2009

I get most of my post topics by keeping my gchat open at all times so that whenever my friends find something new I'll be one of the first people they show it to and then I take it over to the blue as fast as I can.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:39 PM on December 10, 2009

Ask not the nature of the SLAP. Just accept the SLAP gladly and tremble in anticipation of the next one.

*Single Link Art Post, naturally

But seriously, I try very hard to include a via link when possible. Many others do too, which I definitely appreciate.
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:40 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think people's posting styles are very idiosyncratic. Here's where I found some of my posts that seem to have gone over really well.

Barbara Ehrenreich on Poverty in America: I read one of these essays, and noticed it was a series, and thought mefites would enjoy reading the whole series. I try not to link to the New York Times website very often, since it's not exactly a diamond in the rough, but it didn't seem like anyone online was commenting on the whole series of essays.

Eleanor Cameron vs. Roald Dahl
: I found this via Letters of Note (a mefi favorite), and the Letters of Note link is in there somewhere, but that one letter made me curious about the whole kerfuffle, and so I spent an afternoon researching and reading about the Horn Book incident.

Information from the School of Information: I was looking for an explanation of the Google Books Settlement, and Berkeley's School of Information had held a summit on the subject. Their multimedia section is organized really well (this is not surprising) so it was easy to see that they had tons of great audio and video resources on topics mefites would enjoy.

1966 GE College Bowl: Agnes Scott vs. Princeton
: This was my very first post on the blue. My mom went to Agnes Scott, and told me about this college bowl episode, and how it was still a point of pride when she was a student ten years later. I googled it, and it was on youtube. I then began to obsessively research the lives of each of the team members. That obsession, that feeling of "I have to find out about this!" is often the thing that spurs me to post something on MeFi.

There was a boy / A very strange enchanted boy... A little shy / And sad of eye / But very wise was he: I really like this song, and it's so different from anything else recorded at that time that it just seemed like there must be a good story behind it. And there was.
posted by ocherdraco at 12:41 PM on December 10, 2009

I check Slashdot and io9 for interesting things, then keep on digging as both sites usually are too shallow (in terms of information) for my posting taste. Other times, I casually start browsing a topic I find interesting, and put together an overwhelming amount of information, because there's so much out there and I'm not too good at being selective with the details.

I really like the posts that come from personal knowledge gained over months or years of research and study, like the fantastic Search and Rescue Dogs post and the posts from WhySharksMatter. They're not new subjects, but areas which I know little about.

The fact that MetaFilter isn't just BrandNewThingFilter is part of why I like this site so much. If it was just a collection of the newest cute/ great/ awesome thing, it wouldn't feel so balanced.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:43 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

For me, the idea for the post usually comes before the links. I'll be reading Robert Aickman's Cold Hand In Mine, and I'll think "man, this guy deserves more readers. Time for the Blue!" Or a digression on Wikipedia will remind me of an omnicompetent pope whom legend credited with occult powers, and the post will write itself in my head.

The actual linkage come from Wikipedia and its External Links and References, Google, Google Books, Youtube, Project Gutenberg, and the Wayback Machine. If I can't find a strong central link, or I can't shape an interesting constellation of minor links, then I won't proceed. (That's what happened with poor Robert Aickman, who has terrible internet coverage. Too many bibliographies, not enough stories.)

Since this method favors the obscure and literary over the timely and viral, I've never really had to worry about beating Digg. Kattullus, on the other hand...
posted by Iridic at 12:45 PM on December 10, 2009

Iridic: Kattullus, on the other hand...

Heh... I often have the same issue with you. I find something cool which I think is perfect for MetaFilter only to find that it was posted by you like three years ago.
posted by Kattullus at 12:51 PM on December 10, 2009

Not Safe With French fries?
posted by ocherdraco at 12:53 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

"There are blogs, neo, endless blogs. Where posts are no longer formed, they are grown." My answer is blogs. Old, new, few readers, cult fanbasish, popular, whatever. It also helps to simultaneously see what does well here while being on the outside of it enough to know what will come off as novel. I'm sure there are a hundred stages of post-ization, and I guess I'm at like #20. First it was the danger of wondering if it would get deleted just because. Sometime later it was wondering if it would be liked and favorited. Then it was knowing what would be liked and favorited but wondering if you could do the topic justice. Then it was "oh god, I never want to post anything that has appeared on boingboing even though people have said they don't mind". Then it was can I construct a post with a ton of links that is informative yet palatable. The it was shit, this seems like an SLYT that is worthy, but will it cut the mustard. Then the ADHD starts wondering if a mustard-covered hot dog would be good right now.

So anyway, blogs. For a while I had them all hooked up as RSS feeds, but that got to be 1,000 items per day heavy and I went back to the old way. Maybe when Google has some kind of algorithm for being able to tell which posts to display from a feed based on things you've liked previously, that'll return to being an option.

But if not blogs, it's stuff that makes me go "oh shit" or "that's cool" or that makes me smirk waiting to see what MeFi will do when it gets a hold of it. I don't hit up delicious or use stumbleupon. Ultimately it seems like FPPing in the MeFi sink is something that over time shows some kind of side of you, for better or worse.
posted by cashman at 12:56 PM on December 10, 2009

*takes extensive notes*
posted by flatluigi at 1:13 PM on December 10, 2009

I'm not gonna speak in general terms, but today I read my local newspaper, and it turned out this guy Obama was in town receiving some kind of award. Fuck it, I thought, this is local news, but local news that might be of interest to non-locals. *Post*.
posted by Dumsnill at 1:21 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

My personal pet peeve in this matter is Slashdot FPPs. I often see something MeFi-worthy on over there, then decide a link from such a high-volume website is really lazy FPP material. Then I come over to the blue, and somebody has already posted it and is getting comments in the hundreds.

I guess this means there is some repost value for stuff from big aggregators, but I'm in the wrong timezone anyway so others usually get there before me.
posted by Dr Dracator at 1:29 PM on December 10, 2009

Um ...the twitter feeds of cohorts and buddies.
posted by The Whelk at 1:29 PM on December 10, 2009

The two posts I've made were marginally successful, at best, so... ummm... you're asking the wrong guy. Sorry.
posted by owtytrof at 1:35 PM on December 10, 2009

Slashdot is usually a few days behind the curve. I'm not sure why, but I see things much later than on Metafilter, or TechCrunch, or even in the NYTimes.
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 1:37 PM on December 10, 2009

As long as the stuff gets posted, I don't care who does it. Is your question "How can I post cool links to MeFi that no one would see otherwise?" or "How do I beat others to posting stuff on MeFi?" Because the former is just an organic process, man. You have to open yourself to the aether, let it flow through you. It tickles a bit at first, yeah, but that just means it's working.

Wasn't it Thomas More who said something to the effect that he'd rather be out having adventures and experiencing things than be home in time to talk about them over dinner?
posted by Eideteker at 1:40 PM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

I guess Slashdot is high volume, but I don't read it anymore, so... same diff to me.
posted by smackfu at 1:50 PM on December 10, 2009

The last few posts I made were inspired by books or newspaper articles that I've read or sometimes people that I've talked to. I find that this makes them much less likely to have been posted before. Sometimes I walk around with a notecard in my pocket with "To MeFi" written on it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:52 PM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

I spend quite a bit of time at University library websites and it is surprising how many have little online digital collections. Sometimes I post one of those, usually to a resounding thud, but there are gems out there which you can find if you look. Often enough if you do google "linked by" search for these you find literally zero links to them, or at most a few, anywhere else on the internet. Those are good finds.

otherwise, yeah, my blog is the other best of the web.
posted by Rumple at 1:54 PM on December 10, 2009

it is all about finding your niche in the distributed interestingness project we have going on. though only top administrators make any money here, information drones like us do get some online social cred if we are able to find links which do not step on other peoples' previous work. people are very protective about territory that they have carved out, though it can be argue that even though they are barred from direct self-promotion their territory actually belongs to other, nameless people who cultivated their own websites about varied topics. content creators matter little, as what matters here is getting links to be part of mefi canon to perhaps one day enter the mefi cabal.

fortunately for the aspiring linker, our online colonialism borderlines are demarcated at the link level and not by subject matter. this provides more opportunity for social advancement than say about.com. fear not, young linker, there is a wide, though increasingly picked over, internet to cover.
posted by the aloha at 1:55 PM on December 10, 2009

I tend to prefer FPPs that are more curatorial then single link posts. Where someone has taken the time to find examples of some THING I may not have heard about or known much about. There is just so much new content (especially video) going up every day. I like my stuff ...filtered, if you will.

(Then again, a quick look at my own posting history would say otherwise)
posted by The Whelk at 1:58 PM on December 10, 2009

I mostly remember you, Pasta, from the many hilarious and often insightful comments you have made. After briefly looking at your posts to the blue, I don't really understand what you're asking for. Most of your posts seem pretty excellent and non-obvious to me, not "here's something i found on reddit, and you guys may not have seen it yet, hopefully." I can't imagine you as being someone who wants to be the first for the sake of being the first.
posted by Dumsnill at 2:05 PM on December 10, 2009

My posts have no progenitor, no antecedent. They spring forth fully formed from my brain, like Athena from the brow of Zeus.
posted by vronsky at 2:26 PM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

I've been making FPP posts for a few months now, and I seem to find most of my stuff from the RSS feeds I have set up in Google Reader, Twitter feeds of magazines and other media I follow, and sometimes, it's just stuff I'm interested in.

I tend to post things in the news I'm interested about (i.e. healthcare reform, the death of newspapers, sports) or other topics I find fascinating (i.e. dueling, banknotes).

Mostly, if I find something cool and it seems FPP worthy, I'll make it into a post. If it's not on the Blue, it goes there and then the cognoscenti can chat about it. If it has already been posted, I just post the info to my personal blog. Either way, I get something out of digging around for stuff.

It's not about finding all the most awesome stuff that will generate 500 comments per post. I find it much more satisfying to share things I find interesting and then seen how the fine people here receive them.
posted by reenum at 2:27 PM on December 10, 2009

I've been making FPP posts for a few months now...
posted by reenum

and meaningful ones at that.
posted by gman at 2:30 PM on December 10, 2009

I get a call every time a new page is posted on the Internet.

I gotta tell you, that phone ringing a lot less now that geocities shut down.
posted by qvantamon at 2:32 PM on December 10, 2009

apparently I'm unable to verbs in my comments anymore. Second time it happens in two days.
posted by qvantamon at 2:33 PM on December 10, 2009

gman: I deserve that.
posted by reenum at 2:41 PM on December 10, 2009

Just pay attention to folks you notice who post a lot of FPPs and you'll notice trends in their sources, such as finding articles at the NY Times and what not.
posted by Atreides at 2:48 PM on December 10, 2009

I find my posts in discarded plastic bags blown by gusts of wind across the frayed fabric of some dream I had 26 years ago while riding the train to Amsterdam. Or folded up into an old paisley umbrella resting against a crumbling stucco wall at the edge of town. Or dangling from a rusty wire hanging from the roof beam of a recently demolished house near the railroad track. Or affixed to a soggy piece of a faded cereal box, drifting down the river at sundown.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:21 PM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]

I mostly just have sex with flapjax and post whatever happens in "projects."

Sooner or later it makes its way to the blue.
posted by Dumsnill at 3:32 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I read voraciously as a kid.

I mention this because the majority of my posts came about as follows: I would, at different points, recall something cool I had read about a long time ago and then decide to look on the Internet to see if there was information about this. In many cases, I did find something and decided to share. This is essentially how the following posts came about:

Drilling a Square hole
Baron Corvo
The Blegdamsvej Faust
How to win the Nobel Prize 101
Sam Loyd's Cyclopedia
The Ossian Hoax
Piet Hein and Grooks
and many others....
posted by vacapinta at 3:59 PM on December 10, 2009

Pastabagel: Where do you people find the things you post to the "blue?"

"On the Internet," I say, with a wise and knowing look.
posted by Pronoiac at 4:23 PM on December 10, 2009

I have found that most of my posts are things I've found while searching for something else. Here I am googling like mad for something very specific and then HEY, ARCHIE JUST PROPOSED TO VERONICA??

Based on your impression of the quality of my posts, YMMV.
posted by hermitosis at 4:26 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

mathowie sends me his leftovers.
posted by netbros at 4:47 PM on December 10, 2009

I've come to think of my posts as "boutique." Very few people comment, even when I think the subject is stellar. So, perhaps my posts are not the kinds of posts you're curious about. Nevertheless, I mostly have two kinds of posts, those in which I have an idea (from a book, or a random thought, or whatever) and go on the internet to find out about it, and those where I come upon the link completely randomly. Neither is particularly replicable.
posted by OmieWise at 7:48 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

When I am being impolite, I say this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:52 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have some darts, and a phone book, and a map of the world, and an old set of encyclopedias. I take three slugs of espresso, three slugs of single malt scotch, and three bites of bacon. Then I blindfold myself and walk around the apartment for several hours, bumping my head into doorways and skinning my shins on random furniture before I finally pass out. Oh, and I'm singing the National Anthem of Belize at the top of my lings while doing all this.

When I wake up, there's an FPP on my computer screen, all previewed and waiting for me to hit the post button.

(I think some kind of gnome writes it, but I don't have a webcam or anything to document it. It's just a hunch.)
posted by not_on_display at 8:11 PM on December 10, 2009

Maybe it's Archy! Do you have cockroaches?
posted by carsonb at 10:46 PM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

From the the source. Where that source may be... well, that's what makes MeFi innerestin'.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:34 PM on December 10, 2009

Hahaha. Not that I post much (very veeeeery seldom) but I just realized that half of my posts come from discussions on mailinglists. There's your bleeding edge intarwebs, right there.
posted by dabitch at 6:41 AM on December 11, 2009

It's usually a result of procrastination, work avoidance, etc.
posted by carter at 7:09 AM on December 11, 2009

I'll admit it: unlike a few posters here, I'm no expert in the things I post about. Often what happens is I'll come across something odd that I've never heard about before, or that sounds intriguing. So at that point I'll do a bit of searching around, find things that relate to it, read them, and follow leads there to build up something a bit more extensive.

That's definitely what happened with my recent post on Petoskey Stones. I came across a page somewhere where someone said they found a few petoskey stones. What the hell are petosky stones? I thought. So I looked them up, and it was interesting, so I looked up a few more pages and lo and behold I have a post. Nothing particularly remarkable, but it seemed to cheer up the MeFites from Michigan.

Other times I do actually make use of posts from very popular sources. Twice, I've used material off of posts on digg, of all places, to create posts. I don't post directly to the digg; I use it to generate a more expansive post (like the petosky stones above). This is the case in these posts: weird machines, cupcakes, and I think even this one on the Wardenclyffe tower (inspired by a TED talk linked off digg). Sometimes I get the occasional scoop; I just happened to be the first person to notice the barcode on Google's front page, and so I posted it.

Even then, I still wonder: where on earth do people come up with all these remarkable posts? I think the answer might be that MetaFilter is filled up with some pretty remarkable people. I haven't yet mentioned my posts that I consider to be really "mine", which are the ones which center mostly on food. I'm not an excellent cook or an accomplished "foodie" but I do love food, knowing about it and occasionally cooking it. When I travel to a new destination, while others might flip to the "Sights" section I always flip first to the food section. And I hope that the food posts that I've made reflect my love and passion for food. I suspect that it is similar for other people's posts. These are the posts that make MetaFilter the best of the web, in my opinion, although I also enjoy the "you read it here first" posts that you're talking about.

I responded before seeing who wrote this, and I think you should know that even if you don't put up that many posts you do write some pretty good and remarkable comments. I mean, I recognize your name and you're one of my contacts and I've never met you, it's just because I enjoy reading the comments you post. So you're already an excellent contributor to Metafilter.

I used to feel very much the way you do -- how on earth were people getting to this stuff so early. At a certain point I realized I just was never going to win, so that's why I simply go to MetaFilter to find out about things, because if it's happening on the web and it's important, it's on MetaFilter.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:18 AM on December 11, 2009

I don't go looking for links to post. Stuff I read in newspapers, magazines or at various sites online happens to catch my eye, and I decide it might be interesting or fun to share with other people. For work, I have to read a large number of newspapers and magazines every week, which helps stimulate ideas. But I usually do some online research before I post, to help flesh out an idea.

Sometimes, I just think something is thought-provoking: Gie her a Haggis!, Scientific transparency or the protection of profits?, or Danvers.

I'm a sucker for inspiring stories. So if I see what I think is a good one, I'll try and post: Camp Sundown Visits the Yankees and Heroine.

I also tend to like quirky, amusing stuff: PV=nRT: It's not just a good idea...., MMMMF!!! MMMMFF! MMMMMFFF!!!, Oops., Don't Those Knives Come With Compasses? and Scats in the Woods" :)
posted by zarq at 9:54 AM on December 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

jessamyn: "Sometimes I walk around with a notecard in my pocket with "To MeFi" written on it."

OMG I do too!

Except mine says:

To MeFi,
You are the bestest! I've been real good this year and I'd like a pony for Secret Quonsar please.
From your biggest fan,
posted by iamkimiam at 10:32 AM on December 11, 2009

Where did this double come from?

Since they were posted at the same time, I assume it was from the same aggregator?
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 12:11 PM on December 11, 2009

Making FPPs in four easy steps:

1. Do not look for FPP's, they will find you.

2. Consume information and ideas.

3. When something novel or interesting comes up, search for said novelty on metafilter.

4. If not found, construct post (scroll down for crunchland method). If found, return to step 2.
posted by bigmusic at 12:24 PM on December 11, 2009

There's also the classic but tending towards NSFW everlasting blort. But yeah, Kottke and Waxy.
posted by msittig at 12:38 PM on December 11, 2009

I steal stuff from Projects a lot. Where "a lot" is relative to my extremely lax posting schedule. I don't get out and explore the web as much as I'd need to to really kick up my rate of posting, when you get right down to it: I have regular reads that I come back to, and otherwise mostly rely on Metafilter to bring me stuff.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:18 PM on December 11, 2009

I'm still waiting. I'll just know when the right one comes along.
posted by tangerine at 5:24 PM on December 11, 2009

I quit reposting Kottke and Slate because it's lowhanging fruit, and eventually someone else will post it if I don't.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:54 AM on December 12, 2009

Lo, whanging fruit!
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:58 AM on December 12, 2009

posted by Afroblanco at 11:08 AM on December 12, 2009

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