July 1, 2013

"Google Reader dies today. Here’s why I’m not replacing it."

Says Ezra Klein:
There’s nothing wrong with RSS feeds, or with Twitter. But they both bias my information diet in the same ways: Toward quick reads rather than long ones, toward writers and outlets I know rather than ones I don’t, toward blogs rather than other kinds of articles, and toward information I curated rather than information that someone else curated.

Those biases are dangerous for me. After all, my job is to keep coming up with new and interesting things things to report and write about. The more I read the same things over and over, and the more I read the same things that other writers read, the worse I’ll be at my job.
Thanks for the confession.

54 comments:

RecChief said...

what exactly is his job? Shill for the Obama administration? Talking points generator for the Progressive Vanguard? I think he is performing those duties exceedingly well.

edutcher said...

Well, sir, you do have a brain and you can discriminate.

Or is that not PC?

Phil 3:14 said...

Ezra Klein discusses how to fight personal bias.

I'd like to buy a clue for Mr. Klein, Vanna.

Phil 3:14 said...

Ezra Klein discusses how to fight personal bias.

I'd like to buy a clue for Mr. Klein, Vanna.

Mark said...

Use of ______ does not aid in the Ezra Klein empire, so therefore it sucks.

Again and again.

Without a personality, he has little to sell in those media. Doesn't matter what kind of lipstick you put on the pig, it's still that old squealer Ezra inside.

Widmerpool said...

Ezra risks straining a muscle patting himself on the back like this.

traditionalguy said...

I take it that Klein wants to read something written outside the New England-DC idealist's corridor.

I hope he adjusts slowly. He could go into shock.

Scott M said...

Google Reader was is impossible to understand because it was written over a hundred years ago.

SteveR said...

my job is to keep coming up with new and interesting things things to report and write about

keep coming up with..?

Nonapod said...

If someone read that out of context they might believe this is an individual who strives to be open minded and as objective as possible.

ricpic said...

Ez would die rather than go to an UGLY site and risk being POISONED by an UGLY thought. Which kinda restricts his diet.

Roger J. said...

ScottM: was google reader written in cursive?

creeley23 said...

I use -- soon that will be used -- Google Reader. It still works this morning to my surprse. I will miss Google Reader.

It's the best of the RSS readers. It provides a smooth quick interface, crammed with information and no adverts. I guess they couldn't figure out a way to monetize it enough.

Google is mostly not evil, but nearly every interface change they've made has annoyed me or worse.

Of course, it's all free so I can't complain too much.

OTOH, as Steven Yegge has predicted, "[Google is] putting technological heroin in their services, and someday they're going to start charging."

C Stanley said...

Now that I've had some advice from Ezra on my information diet, I think I'll check out some of Paula Deen's nutritional tips.

Nonapod said...

One pretty minor, nitpicky thing about Google I'm beginning to dislike is their overuse of Doodles. It's fine to have one once every few months, but it's gotten to the point now where they have Doodles up more than just the regular logo.

Susan Stewart Rich said...

"toward writers and outlets I know rather than ones I don’t"

@althouse

What will allow me to find the latter? It seems the modern internet is constantly pushing me towards what I already know/like rather than helping me expand my horizons. In fact the process of finding your blog felt like shopping at a local farmer's market in comparison to the way I had been consuming information on the internet.

betamax3000 said...

Which Reader of Google Died? I Though Lots of people Read Google. They Should Be More Specific.

creeley23 said...

Nonapod: I agree. I've had it with Google doodles.

There used to be ways to avoid them. For a while using https instead of http worked. After that Google allowed you to customize your Google background without doodles, then they took that away.

Carol said...

I can't believe I've lived without it all these years.

Lem said...

Now, I love blogs. Some of my best friends are bloggers.

The Real Ezra Klein Emerges

Palladian said...

But they both bias my information diet in the same ways...

Another healthy eater chose fries.

X said...

I've had it with Google doodles.

There used to be ways to avoid them. For a while using https instead of http worked. After that Google allowed you to customize your Google background without doodles, then they took that away.


if you use Chrome and do your google searches in the address bar, you'll never see a doodle.

Scott M said...

I'm glad this topic came up as I've been looking for a good blog reader.

When I first starting reading and commenting here, I used the Atom option through my Outlook. The great thing about that was that if I subscribed to a particular thread, it changed to bold any time a new comment was posted.

I've not been able (not that I've looked overly hard, mind you) another reader that has that functionality.

John Farrier said...

I couldn't make it in my job without a solid RSS reader. It's essential. Google Reader was idea. I now use The Old Reader as my primary and Feedly for when The Old Reader goes down.

Carol said...

When a liberal blogger confesses, I have this problem too, he really means "You suck."

Mitchell the Bat said...

I have no idea what the fuck Mr. Klein is talking about but I frequently take the latest issue of Lapham's Quarterly into the bathroom for a quick read while I'm laying down a stinky and it's made me a better person.

creeley23 said...

if you use Chrome and do your google searches in the address bar, you'll never see a doodle.

If I use Firefox, I can do that too, but it is not the same and not what I want.

This is classic bad internet help. Instead of providing a solution to the problem at hand, the helper throws out an answer to a different problem.

chrisnavin.com said...

Extra, extra, tweet all about it: Social-media driven progressive echo-chamber too echoey for Wapo's wonker Ezra Klein.

Ladies' full-scoop steel-boned brassiere's 2 for 1 sale at Gimbels

Getcher hot/fresh news right heeya.

Susan Stewart Rich said...

@Mitchell the bat

re Lapham's Quarterly: I recently read this journal for the first time (the animal edition). Love at first read. I came across it while lazily checking out the magazines at a Barnes and Noble in rural Utah (I was on vacation without the kids and this was my idea of fun). A surprising find. I almost subscribed until I noticed that Dave Eggers was promoting them in their ad. Nothing wrong with Dave Eggers other than I don't love his writing.

Rusty said...

Hate to break this to ya Ezra, but you got about as much depth as a wading pool.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

Actually, RSS readers are more useful for blogs that don't update often, which tend to be the blogs that have long posts. With a blog like yours that updates frequently, it's just as convenient to periodically go directly to your blogger webpage. True, your blog has somewhat long posts, but I would say blogs that update as often as yours rarely post posts as long as yours.

As for what Susan S. Rich was saying, I think it's increasingly hard to find interesting new stuff on the internet. Good sites like Stumbleupon or Youtube get bought out and sent toward hell, hiding all the collective opinions that people have shared (and frustrating people from bothering to share those opinions again), I suppose because they compete with whatever opinions they and their advertisers want to be there. It used to be that once one found something one liked, one stood a better chance of being led from there to other things one likes. The internet probably peaked about 5 or 6 years ago, I'd say. The internet is just too centralized now--basically the only thing that has improved is bandwidth and what follows from that (e.g., higher resolution in photos and videos, which admittedly is great). And there is too much stuff that doesn't work on web, requiring IOS or Android operating systems, as if the powers that be are trying to force people to spend more and to be more exclusive in their social sharing, a la the cursed Facebook. Exclusivity is one of those things that snowballs. If everyone, or almost everyone is fairly open, people as a whole won't be more unsafe. But the fewer people share, the more dangerous it is for any particular person to share. It's like when the Lyon sisters were kidnapped in the D.C. area where I lived in 1975. That didn't greatly suggest that kids like me were at greater danger, but it made parents hesitant to let kids roam, which by making roaming kids fewer, increased the danger to any particular kid, which caused parents to further restrict until eventually, as nowadays, most kids get escorted to the bus stop or mall by their parents. It would be well, though, if the young and other vulnerable people could hide their IRL location more easily. I say that not so much because it would make girls as a whole safer, but because it would make girls much more open if they knew evil people couldn't as a result come after them in a dangerous way.

Gahrie said...

Who needs a feed when you are on Journolist?

creeley23 said...

Actually, RSS readers are more useful for blogs that don't update often, which tend to be the blogs that have long posts. With a blog like yours that updates frequently, it's just as convenient to periodically go directly to your blogger webpage.

Not my experience. Google Reader is great for blogs like Althouse since I can see the last two dozen headlines at a glance, read the entire cached post immediately on GR with one click without invoking any ads or complex formatting, note which posts I have already read, and then, if I choose to, click and actually go to the Althouse site to see the post with comments.

I can scan a hundred posts in five minutes this way. Blogs are fun, but most posts aren't worth much of my time. If I was smart, I wouldn't read them at all. At least this way I can blow through them quickly.

elkh1 said...

Confession of a Journolista.

creeley23 said...

I find interesting stuff on the web all the time by asking questions and googling.

Aggregators like Instapundit or RealClearEtc or even Althouse to an extent are useful, but you will fall into biases and staleness if you depend on others to lay it out for you.

Education works best if you're grabbing for information and insights rather than waiting for it to be delivered.

LarsPorsena said...

"...toward information I curated rather than information that someone else curated..."



What is 'curated' information?
Special journolist argot?

Danno said...

If you want to see Ezra going mano-a-mano on Obamacare with Forbes' Avik Roy, follow the link below. Roy seems to know more of the details and pitfalls of Obamacare than Ezra, but at times has a little trouble getting a word in edge-wise since Ezra is a master of talking without saying very much.


http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/06/30/ezra-klein-and-avik-roy-go-mano-a-mano-on-obamacare-rate-shock-and-the-gop-agenda-video-transcript/print/

Scott M said...

Special journolist argot?

No, no. It's HTML argle-bargle.

Rabel said...

creeley wrote;

"This is classic bad internet help. Instead of providing a solution to the problem at hand, the helper throws out an answer to a different problem."

The problem was doodles. The answer gave a way to avoid them. I don't understand your objection. Could you explain?

I do google searches through the address bar in IE. Never see doodles.

creeley23 said...

The problem was doodles. The answer gave a way to avoid them. I don't understand your objection. Could you explain?

I want to see a full search page of hits with summaries, not a handful of bare links in a dropdown menu.

If my only goal was to avoid doodles, I could not use Google at all.

creeley23 said...

I also want to use Google as my homepage, because it is so useful and once upon a time it was minmal.

Now they've added so much stuff to it -- not just the doodle but under the hood -- that it takes much longer to load.

creeley23 said...

And the magnifying glass search is where I keep my dictionary.

Rabel said...

"I want to see a full search page of hits with summaries, not a handful of bare links in a dropdown menu."

I just did two searches for "creeley." One from my address bar and one from google. The results are identical.

bpm4532 said...

Notice, he forgets to mention he tries to tell the truth.

Ipso Fatso said...

People Ezra has so much credibility he never was a member of Journo-List!!!

Lyle said...

Ezra Klein has always sucked at his job... unless it was to be a partisan hack, in which case he has been successful enough to never again be taken seriously about anything.



Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

LarsPorsena,

What is 'curated' information?
Special journolist argot?


Nah, it's just a fancy way of saying that it was picked out for you by someone else. You therefore see only what the "someone else" chooses for you to see, just as in a museum, the curator has some of its holdings on exhibit at any one time, but not the rest. The curator picks what the visitors see.

For some reason the word has become fashionable in the last couple of years. When my husband has to go on a long drive, I throw a pile of CDs in a bag for him, picking things I know he likes and things I'm sure he hasn't heard yet. He calls this a curated selection.

creeley23 said...

I just typed "creeley" into my address bar and that's not what I see.

My problem in full: I want to use Google as my home page without seeing the doodle.

I'm somewhat irritable because I was up past midnight last night trying to google the answer to a tricky technical question posed by many other people as well and I kept running into well-meaning but time-wasting nitwits posting answers to different problems.

FedkaTheConvict said...

I'm glad this topic came up as I've been looking for a good blog reader.

When I first starting reading and commenting here, I used the Atom option through my Outlook. The great thing about that was that if I subscribed to a particular thread, it changed to bold any time a new comment was posted.

I've not been able (not that I've looked overly hard, mind you) another reader that has that functionality.


I use Sage as an extension/plug-in for Firefox. Its the best RSS feed I've found in terms of integration with Firefox.

I also use Feedly for those feeds like news that change constantly; and gReader on my Android tablets.

John Lynch said...

I curated away Ezra Klein many moons ago.

He's right- he doesn't say anything I can't get somewhere else.

Shawn Levasseur said...

Blaming Google for his reading habits?

By his own admission, Reader showed him he was neglecting some feeds over others. I guess he can now put his ideological blinders on without worry of a program to call him out on it.

I'm not perfect, but I get my fair share of differing opinions. It helps I also get a dose of politics and opinion from people I'm following for other topics than politics. (That an the occasional cruelly neutral blogger. :) )

creeley23 said...

Just switched to AOL Reader because it was the most like Google Reader and the least intrusive I looked at.

I don't like flashy graphics or popup windows. AOL devotes the left panel to ad(s), but other than that it's OK. So far.

It also copied my Google settings without a hitch.

DEEBEE said...

In his classification, Ezra Klein is a modern day version of Georg Cantor, except in the negative direction

Rick Caird said...

Amazing. The problem is not Ezra, the problem is Google Reader. Who would have thunk it.