Renae asked recently where I find information for my posts, so I thought I'd share for newer readers. Outside of my own ruminations, which accounts for a bit of my blogging, here are several other sources, although they generally only catch my eye if I am already thinking about the topic. I don't usually go looking for content, since I generally have more to write about than I could reasonably post in a day. Here is a list, however:
1. Google alerts. This is a free service which delivers related news articles and blog entries directly to my email box.Forums. I am only really active in two, but these can be a great way to connect with people. I am often inspired to write about things which began as a discussion in a forum.That sounds like a lot. But it really isn't. Especially since a fair amount is the direct result of what I am already working on and much of the rest is delivered to my email box. And I certainly do not visit every one of these sites every day, or even every week.
2. Nice people who know I am interested in certain topics. I have more information than I could possibly post about homeschooling in Germany, for example. All of it kindly emailed directly to me so I don't even have to go looking for it.
3. People I assume are nice who are looking to promote their blogs. I often wonder if they assume the skewed ranking system over at technorati means I have the traffic to match. But a lot of people helped me out when I started and I am more than willing to return the favor!
4. Feeds. I subscribe to several news feeds via bloglines which gives me a lot of headlines I can skim quickly. There is a reason that the Washington Post is quoted rather heavily around here: it has a nice RSS feed for education news and does not require a subscription. So I might quote a story like this one, showing what we already know about the effects of No Child Left Behind: more time spent on English and math; less time on other subjects, including recess and lunch. The Washington Post is so blogger-friendly that it even has a little widget which shows links to blogs discussing the story. I noticed Joanne Jacobs and went to see her take. And this little blurb may be there for a bit, as well.
5. My sidebar. I actually use mine and if you are there, I probably visit your blog at least once a week. I don't pick up as many stories from other blogs as I used to, but I like taking part in the conversation. And I like linking to other people blogging about the same issues.
6. Truth Laid Bear. This is an excellent "front page" sort of source for what is going on in a variety of niches. If you blog about homeschooling, consider joining ours!
7. Social bookmarking sites. When I am in the mood to just surf around, I look over what my "friends" have submitted and the front page. Sometimes that results in a post. That is how I got to releasing a balloon, anyway. I had logged onto bumpzee, and noticed a discussion in German. It was the age-old lament about having traffic but no comments. So I went to their blog just to leave a comment and discovered it was about gerbils. That kept me reading until I came across the entry about the balloon release project. Here is a nice entry about social bookmarking sites which are a little more blogger friendly.
8. Technorati. Use their search bar, or sign up for a watchlist. I logged in just to see if there was anything interesting and discovered this delightful eulogy to Common Sense.
9. While researching articles or lessons, I come across a lot of websites which are interesting. I bookmark them under a handy folder named "research." I blog a lot about issues which are tangential to what I am working on for other things. My most recent article, for example, was only about 1200 words, I think. But preparing for it involved reading a lot of information about missionary work, family issues and South Korea. I probably amassed 500 or more pages of information along with the interviews. That is slowly being digested here, since nowhere near that much information made it into the article.