As time goes by, I find myself depending less and less on big-name sites to stay on top of matters in the world of tech. At one point or another I've subscribed to them all: Ars Technica, Engadget, Gizmodo, The Verge, Macworld, AllThingsD, The Next Web, TechCrunch, Wired...I'm sure I'm forgetting a few.
The problem with these sites is that they're too broad in scope. They attempt to cover every possible thing, they compete to post scoops first — sometimes to their own detriment — the sheer number of articles in their RSS feeds can accumulate at a seemingly exponential rate, and most of these articles are low-content or cover events I simply do not care about.
["Oh, some Android OEM has decided to shit out yet another phone, just like they have several other times in the last week? How novel and interesting!" - something I have never uttered]
I don't want to keep up with this deluge of information. I want stories. Tech writers are encouraged to slap together several "articles" a day on every possible bit of news that hits their inbox. I just can't stretch my interest amongst that much content.
Because of this, I've unsubscribed from all the big-name publications and started exclusively reading what I call 'personality' blogs. I'm talking about places like Daring Fireball, ShawnBlanc.net, Curious Rat, The Brooks Review, 512 Pixels, and a bunch of others. Without editors and advertisers standing over their shoulders, these blogs have the luxury of publishing at a much slower rate, which typically leads to more thoughtful pieces. A stark (and rather refreshing) contrast to the postpostpostpostpost mentality of the big players.
I'm not saying the larger media outlets don't write great pieces every now and then, but I've found it to be a pretty rare occurrence. Also, these 'diamonds in the rough' will usually be shared around by others anyway, so that I don't have to dig through the garbage myself.
All of this applies to magazines, as well. I can't remember the last time I renewed a paper magazine subscription. Not only is it a gigantic waste of paper, but I feel like I'm getting better mileage out of publications like The Magazine and the Read & Trust Magazine.
Going a step further than simply unsubscribing from the big sites, I've also become a paid member of some smaller sites because I believe it's important to support independent writing. That's where the truly interesting stuff is published, and I want to make sure more of it gets put out into the world. If I ever turn this site into a full-time job, I would hope that people find it in the hearts to support what I do. Why shouldn't I do the same for the sites I love?