17 June 2008

Thing 12: Put Down That Shovel!

As someone who has started just about every day of her adult life with a newspaper, I do not understand my aversion to social media sites. After all, information is my life. I want to know what's happening in my community and in the world; when things are wrong, I want to charge in and change them. As a sometime op-ed columnist, I used to express strong opinions in print about these events.

So I figured I would give all these newsy Web sites recommended in Thing 12 more than a fighting chance. For several days last week, I dug at Digg. I read it at Reddit. I mixed it up at Mixx. I even stumbled into StumbleUpon. And I emerged from all this with a brain that felt like it had been crumpled up and rolled in the dirt. This was true even after I went the extra mile and registered at Digg (which had been recommended by my excellent Web-developer instructor as well), so that I could tailor its home page to my own interests. Except that these seemed to be my interests as interpreted by a distracted 12-year-old boy. "Education," for example, turns out to be a catch-all category that includes Bruce Lee, sex guides, and Rupert Murdoch. "Offbeat"? Don't even go there.

Working my way through the Thing 12 list, at last I ended up at the New York Times. And omygosh, but the Gray Lady is just a sight for sore eyes. Maybe it's the typeface, maybe it's the large(r) news-to-ad ratio, but I just feel reassured when I look at it. I didn't even mind that the beta "My Times" page wouldn't retain any of my changes (after all, why should I want to know the weather anywhere west of the Hudson?). No Bruce Lee, very few sex guides, and definitely no Rupert. This is really my kind of news. And they've been delivering it since 1852.

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