I originally started writing this the last week of 2008 but I hurt my back snowboarding (actually putting stuff in a locker before snowboarding) so I got a little sidetracked. So, without any further ado, I present to you my completely unheralded list of the best of my little online media world:
Best Blog Covering Social Media
This was a tough category this year but what sets Mashable apart is how they made their blog truly social. You can say that their social network was a bit of a flop but the editors actively engaged their audience and even went on an international road show to connect with people face-to-face. There was no better place to keep up with the explosive growth of platforms like Twitter, Friendfeed and others of their ilk. The post volume seems just about right for the space they’re covering and it’s rare that I learn about a new social media technology through another source first.
Best PR Blog
Some may say I’m playing favorites because I’m a hockey fan (Shannon works for the Detroit Red Wings) but I don’t think there’s another PR blogger out there that consistently produces as much good content as Shannon. She has an extemely holistic view of PR, as is evidenced in her posts on the importance of SEO and why PR needs to focus less on the media. You rarely get any echochamber posts with Shannon and she spares you any Godin-esque generalities that you will never be able to apply in your actual job. That’s not to say that the choice was easy. I still find tremendous value in Geoff’s Livingston’s Buzz Bin as well as Brian Solis’s PR 2.0. To be honest, Steve Rubel still deserves an honorable mention for his Delicious links alone.
Best Online Tech News Site
This probably isn’t your choice if you want your tech news unbiased but Henry Blodget’s SAI is one of the best places to go if you like context with your news. Unlike TechCrunch and the myriad of other tech news sites out there, SAI reports with an iron fist and isn’t afraid to call someone out repeatedly on poor business fundamentals. It’s a high-volume blog but that doesn’t mean that they’re all inclusive. If your business doesn’t ripple outside of the Twitterati then the SAI probably doesn’t have much use for you. I’ll give TechMeme the runner up award in this category since it has become the spark point for much tech writing and could very well be the publishing model of the future.
Best Analyst Blog
The impact of social media has really left most analyst firms reeling. With his dedication to complete transparency and hands-on approach to his analysis of all social technology, Jeremiah Owyang has been a big part of making Forrester the only analyst firm that matters in regards to marketing in this media environment. Anyone who has seen Gartner’s Hype Cycle on social media trends can easily see how far behind Forrester’s competitors are. The only competition in this category for me was also from Forrester for Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff’s Groundswell, although I find Jeremiah’s insights to be significantly more focused.
Best Online Social Technology
I could try to be clever here but Twitter’s impact was unmistakably huge this year. While some of the more technologically savvy have tried to move to Friendfeed at various times of the year when the Fail Whale comes out to play, Twitter’s simplicity and pure functionality has followed the Google path to success. You don’t have to be a maniac to make it useful either, I’ve been saved by it while sitting on a tarmac during the debates and stuck on a closed highway on Christmas Eve. It’s purely social and it seems to have struck a chord with a population that doesn’t have the energy for blogging. The runner up in this category unfortunately has to be Facebook since their stolen feed technology became so ubitquitous that it convinced a generation to microblog before they even knew what it means.
Site I Spent Far Too Much Time on in 2008
I caught a bad case of election fever this year and subsequently spent a LOT of time on all sorts of political sites. The content on the Huff Post is not, by a longshot, the best written or most insightful but they have proven why blogs still matter. Like it or not, blogs are probably the fastest and most democratized way to break news and the Huff Post was always timely and good for 45 minutes of my time no matter when I logged in. Sure, there is plenty of trashy news on the Huff Post that is no better than Perez Hilton but their filter is applied well enough to keep it from becoming the left’s answer to the Drudge Report. There are too many runnners up in this category to post.
Ok, so there it is. A couple weeks late is better than never.