Five to follow – Ben Shepherd; Margaret Simon; Amnesia; David Knox; Stilgherrian

I have something of a complex relationship with my RSS feed.

Sometimes it makes me feel happy, or even excited. But mostly, I suffer from sadness, flavoured with a nagging sense of guilt.

Over the last few months my RSS feeds – which mainly focus on Australian blogs that are at least vaguely to do with the media and marketing world – have spiralled to well over 300.  

Five to followThe happy and excited bits are easy to explain. There’s so much interesting, thoughtful and challenging stuff around that for a journo struggling to get his head around this industry, there’s always a stream of insight.

The sadness comes because too much of it doesn’t get as wide an audience as it deserves. The guilt, because I’m never on top of all of those feeds.

Not only that, but I’ve been remiss on the blogroll front. For space reasons, we recently (and temporarily until I figure out a better solution) downgraded our links section to linking to it via the foot of our home page, to make room for our new directory. We’re also behind on updating links to these sites. So I need to figure out a better way of doing all of that.

But I’ve a new resolution. I’m going to try the  little-and-often approach. So every week or so, I’ll aim to highlight five sites that are worth a look, and explain why. And at the same time, I’ll make sure they’re in our blog roll too. Every journey begins with a single step, and all that…

Our first five

In no particular order, these are among the sites that I turn to first when I’m looking to catch up.

1. Ben Shepherd’s Talking Digital.

Read it: If you want to know about the relationship between agencies and digital media owners.

Ben is digital director at media agency Maxus. He writes well, has a point of view, and a very journalistic approach to getting to the heart of an issue. Not many marketing bloggers genuinely set the agenda, but he often does. (Talking Digital was originally a two man effort also involving Drive PM’s Liam Walsh. It would be good to see Liam come back above the parapet because he also wrote entertainingly.)

A recent example: Ben’s been querying the data around some of Fairfax’s specialist sites. He first raised the question last Wednesday. By this weekend, he’d got comment out of Fairfax and Nielsen and taken on the debate.


2. Margaret Simon’s The Content Makers

Read it: If you want to know about Australian journalism and journalists

Sitting under the Crikey umbrella, this blog recently burst back into life after an absence of several months. The Melbourne-based Simon, has written several books and is particularly well connected with Fairfax and ABC gossip.

A recent example: On Thursday night she shared the news that AFR staff have been asked to sign a new code of conduct preventing them from using Twitter to talk about their work.


3. The Amnesia blog.

Read it: If you want to be first to get some great technology links

This is a collaboration from the staff of digital agency Amnesia Razorfish. It’s probably updated more often than any other Australian agency blog – there were 16 postings last week. Mostly it’s great links that may just keep you a day ahead of the meme curve. There are also occasional think pieces.

A recent example: A link to this piece on an intriguing new iPhone geo-app:


4. TV Tonight

Read it: For an excellent overview of current Australian television programming

The work of journo David Knox, comprehensiveness is a key strength of TV Tonight. Admittedly, a significant part of the content is rounding up (with appropriate citation) what other media has been saying about Australian TV, but with its mainly consumer focus it gives a good insight into audience sentiment about various shows.

A recent example: What he learned from watching Nine’s Money For Jam


5. Stilgherrian

Read it: For a passionate, non-establishment take on all things internet, media and telco

The man with just one name is all the things that give the blogosphere a good name – well informed, witty and a definite point of view

A recent example: Stil’s adventures in Tanzania when he helped Action Aid set up project Toto.


Although those are the first five, that was almost based on the first ones that leapt out of my RSS feed as I was writing this. They’re also sites that are may already familiar to anyone whose spent a little time on Twitter or in the blogosphere. Next time, I’ll be going a bit deeper. And please do share  your hidden gems in the comment thread too.


Tim Burrowes


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