A bit about blogging, looking for content
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.

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.
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.