Keeping up with the Industry and the Bloggers
When I started this site I had some dreams of it becoming the great resource for game news and guides. But I quickly realized that this is not a job for one person alone, since there’s only so much time in a day to read news and to write articles. So I had to quickly repurpose the website and turn it into the blog you see right now. Goal: to talk about everything MMO related. Which still requires a lot of information management.
In order to stay ahead of the subject, I have to look at my information sources:
- My own gaming experience
- News from the gaming companies
- News from aggregator sites
- Information from other blogs
- Random tidbits from everywhere
What media is being used to get the information to me?
- Playing online games (ain’t life great)
- RSS feeds
- News sections of the game companies and aggregator sites
- News and announcement forum
- other sections of gaming related forums
How can I handle it? How do I tame the beast? The most important tool for me is Google Reader. I am subscribed to about 150 RSS feeds, most of them blogs. The reader allows me to arrange them in folders and highlights those with unread items and tells me how many there are. Which quickly allows me to jump to the right place.
My reader is divided into a couple of sections:
- Covered Games: Those are the ‘official’ RSS feeds of the game publishers of games I play or have written about
- Upcoming and Other Games: that’s my interest list, again, official feeds only
- News and Aggregators: Here I’ve sites like ZAM, Massively, MMORPG.com etc. Most of it remains unread, due to volume
- Blog Feeds. If you don’t have an RSS feed, I won’t find your articles. I will visit your site to comment, or just to see what else is going on there.
A couple of gaming companies don’t provide an RSS feed anymore, or don’t maintain it very well. It’s nearly impossible to jump from one game’s site to the next one and read the news on every single page. To manage this I am using FEED43. With this site I can transform any news site or any web forum into an RSS feed. However, it requires a good deal of configuration and knowledge of regular expressions and HTML helps a lot. I’ve done this for the SWTOR Dev Tracker. Copy the link and import it into your RSS reader. Being a free service, it’s only updated every 6 hours, but that’s still way better than having to check it daily
Belghast at the Aggronaut has just published an article, the Google Reader Blogroll, showing how to turn his reader configuration into a blogroll. I like his timing
Onto Twitter. Most of you know Twitter as a constant stream, scrolling across your monitor. I am pretty sure every Twitter user has missed at least one important tweet in the stream. It either scrolled off the screen and you didn’t notice, it was part of a tweet zerg rush or it came in overnight. I missed the GW2 beta weekend announcement that way. I’ve found a tool that allows me to sort the tweets by sender and gives me a count of unread messages, more or less like Google Reader. Check out tdash. I also like tweetdeck.com and hootsuite.com, which are pretty good in tracking searches and hashtags.
Finally, there’s facebook. Many gaming companies have a facebook presence and have news coming in this way. But most of the time, it’s duplicated on Twitter or in the RSS feed. I don’t check facebook often for gaming related news. But I am signed up to a number of their pages and have organized them in a list in order to filter them.
I am trolling the game forums from time to time, but usually only the ones of my current game, anything else is information overload. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to play the games nor able to write about them.
What’s missing? The inside scoop. I have no established channels through which I could learn that some new game is going to be released, another one being shut down, or that the subscriber number of a third game just crossed 2 mio players. I’ll probably miss that kind of information for quite a while, until some of my fellow bloggers pick something up. I fear that kind of information would again require major time investment and constant digging for it, building up contacts and then (ab)use them. I don’t know if I ever want to do that.
There’s one more thing, I still have to see if reddit or other, newer sites can help me much with my information management. I will have to put some more research time into that. However, I feel that the way I am doing it right now is satisfactory for the purpose.