My post on the Washington state linking project focused on the awesome innovation involved and on the benefits of collaborative linking in general. But the project also shows why this kind of news aggregation is so useful for a local audience.
The biggest danger with news aggregation is that instead of acting as a filter, it can sometimes add to readers’ information overload. I read Andrew Sullivan’s blog as much for his links as for his original posts, but some days his link-blogging is just too prolific for me. (As Howard Owens put it: “To all the bloggers in my RSS reader: You post too frequently. Stop it. Let me catch up, for a change.”)
Commenter Matthias Spielkamp worried that the Washington link project might have had this effect: “I don’t have the time to read through 25 different stories to get a picture of the situation.”
But we shouldn’t mistake a long list of links for confusing overload just because it looks like overload from afar. The closer readers are to a story or event, the more they want to know about it and the less overloaded they’ll feel.