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I don't browse the Internet anymore. I've started to realize that I actually visit standalone websites less and less. Aside from interactive sites like forums, I find myself subscribing to more and more websites' RSS feeds as a way to stay current. No longer do I have a list of bookmarks that I proceed through each morning. Instead, I have a list of feeds that I read through, and if there is something interesting on one of those, only then do I actually visit the original site. Google is my homepage, but it's set up as a personal aggregator of news and information, and even then I'm finding more time being spent in their RSS reader application.

This is what I think is the real "Web 2.0" - a paradigm shift in how people use the Internet. There has always been an overload of information available, and it only increases in volume every day. Way Back When, web directories, and then search engines helped us find what we were interested in. But then even that got overwhelmed - search results started becoming inaccurate and busy.

Now we find something we're interested in, and we can subscribe to any updates it might have. We don't have to go out and search for something - instead, new information comes to us. Almost every website that has any sort of updated content now offers feeds to that content.

Aside from the afore-mentioned interactive websites where I actually contribute content, my Internet experience has become rather passive. Between RSS feeds and bookmarklets that integrate into RSS and email, I am instantly notified of anything new on any number of content sites that I am interested in. What about new content that I don't know about? I'll occasionally come across a new link - usually from comments posted on various sites, and in turn I'll follow that. If it is interesting, it gets added to the mix.

It's a brave new world! I imagine eventually the collection of information that is getting aggregated will itself get to be too much to manage, and then we'll see something come about that helps *that* problem. It isn't the Internet of 1995, that's for sure.

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Last Post by edmicman
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Hmm, very interesting entry you wrote.

I guess I'm in a different situation partly because I spend 90% of my time on forums, and they tend to show only when new threads are posted, not when they've had new replies (which is what I'm more interested in, usually). So I tend to visit the site's homepage (eg DaniWeb) to check if there's new posts.

Also, RSS only informs you of new content and brings it to you. For an interactive web browsing experience, you must still visit the sites to do anything.

But from a surfer's point of view, this is all very true.

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Agreed - for interactive sites (and I frequent a lot of forums as well), there's no substitute for actually visiting the site. But I've found that I'm getting my daily dose of news updates, front page headlines (from any variety of sites), etc., all via subscriptions. Even blogs that I comment on, I'll subscribe to their feed, read the summary, and then if it intrigues me I'll visit the site and post a comment.

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