TIME Magazine has just unveiled its third annual list of the best blogs in the world, spanning politics, housekeeping, astronomy and everything in between ‘we can’t live without.’ Check the full list below:
“The Internet might be driving down our attention spans and turning us ADD, but Zenhabits is a friendly reminder to disconnect and unwind. Offering everything from productivity tips to ways to beat writer’s block, the blog has several years’ worth of guides to help you live a more efficient life — as soon as you step away from the computer.”
“PostSecret’s premise is old by now — anonymous people send in secrets on postcards that are scanned and posted online. But the endlessly fascinating array of responses makes this blog worth a return visit. PostSecret has even branched out beyond the Web. After an anonymous illegal immigrant posted pledging to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge because the person “didn’t belong,” thousands of fans of the blog joined a Facebook group to urge the person to reconsider. Some devotees even held a rally at the bridge. Was the post real? Did the person see the response? The fact that there is no answer to these questions only adds to the blog’s mystique.”
“Climate Progress began as a hobby but quickly became a full-time passion for Joe Romm, a physics Ph.D. from MIT who worked for the Rockefeller Foundation during the Cold War, focusing on global security threats, and later at the Department of Energy. After Romm’s brother lost a house during Hurricane Katrina, Romm took it upon himself to research whether his brother should rebuild in the New Orleans region. He has been writing about the topic ever since. Viewing climate change through the prism of national security, Romm analyzes breaking energy news and the relevant research, but most important, he challenges the beliefs and conclusions of the mainstream media on climate-change issues. Go get ’em, Joe.”
Pop culture beautifully pops in this hip discussion of obscure writers, amazing art and the kind of cool but forgotten songs that only come to you in the shower. There seem to be few boundaries as to where HiLobrow’s conversations can go, but that’s a big part of its charm. It is a potpourri of intellectualism, culture trends, unexpected artistic creations and out-of-the-box personalities. The blog’s tagline is “Middlebrow is not the solution.” We couldn’t agree more.
Hipsters — those proud members of the tight-jeaned, trust-funded alt set (a.k.a. this guy) — are easy targets on the Web, but Hipster Runoff finds a fresh way to gently poke the ribs of the “bed head” set. Surveying the fashion and culture trends of hipsterdom, the blog alternates between outright spoofs and serious slams of fashion’s posers and prophets, with cutting commentary of ongoing discussions covering everything from alt-rock to bro culture. It becomes clear from all this that hipsters have a little too much time on their hands, but the blog makes it fun by playfully mocking their obsessions.
Jason Kottke’s blog is a grab bag of multimedia trivia. A YouTube clip from a 1936 documentary on mail trains? Check. A copy of an 1892 menu, fascinating not only for its price structure but for its customers’ bill of rights? Yup. Touting only smart, stimulating items worth adding to the public sphere, Kottke.org is part odd-news aggregator and part archival treasure dig — consistently one of the most surprising domains on the Web.
Think of this blog not just as a collection of baking disasters but accidental art in the kitchen, at once spectacular and bizarre. There’s the least festive holiday cake of all time and the most disturbing life-size baby cake to exist outside a nightmare. And while those might be among the most peculiar and hilarious of the blog’s discoveries, Cake Wrecks also pays homage to those cakes that are so beautifully elaborate that they earn our admiration and even envy. One killer example: the Father’s Day cake that looks like a hyper-realistic tool set. Finally, the wreck photos often come with hilarious stories on how the disaster came to be — enriching the schadenfreude. Above all, this blog never lets you forget that failure can be fun.
Ever wonder how to use a semicolon? Or, to get a bit more crazy, how to tell if your cat is trying to kill you? Now you can find out, in comically illustrated form. The pseudonym of illustrator Matthew Inman, the Oatmeal produces zany screen-length visual aids in a cartoon style. There are quizzes too. A personal favorite? The one that asks how many Justin Biebers you could take in a fight.
The blog may operate with the motto “The strongest visual birth control on the market today,” but S___ My Kids Ruined feels less like a compilation of scowls than smirks. Touting dizzying images of destroyed houses and cars and broken electronics and toys — and the occasional poop disaster — which are submitted by horrified mothers and fathers, the blog offers definitive evidence for just how careless, and costly, kids can be. But look closer at many of the woe-is-me captions and there’s a lighter side — a cheery recognition that boys will be boys and girls will be girls. Beyond all the stuff that was destroyed, what is a parent to do but shrug, laugh it off and share the pics with fellow parents who can nod along in bemused sympathy?
It’s the breadth, depth and immediacy of Deadline Hollywood’s coverage that has made Nikki Finke’s blog a must-read for those in search of the latest news on the sets of Hollywood. Covering everything from industry promotions and famous deaths to film development, casting news and box office reports, Deadline Hollywood has emerged as an expansive 24/7 operation, spanning high-brow acquisition talk and low-brow Oscar gossip. What has set the blog apart is the rigor of its reportage. As the industry trade publications slash staff, Finke’s 24-year career in journalism as a Hollywood columnist and media-business reporter for LA Weekly provides the kind of access and insight that up-start bloggers can only dream of. Deadline Hollywood, often first out of the gate with breaking news, is able to gather the sort of analysis and attributable quotes that are woefully lacking from other celebrity-oriented blogs. There was speculation last year that Deadline Hollywood’s acquisition by Mail.com Media Corp. might negatively affect the content. But those fears are for naught: the blog is as cutting, breaking and vital as ever.
In 2007, Gary Arndt — onetime Internet consultant and online gaming devotee — decided to pull up his roots and set sail around the globe. Determined to travel expansively, he started posting his experiences online. The result is a widely followed blog, Everything Everywhere, that is anchored by his inimitable personality. In the three years since he left the Midwest, he has ventured to some 60 countries, posting photos, stories and recommendations along the way. It has become a full-time endeavor, and he now uses podcasts, Twitter and even Foursquare to share his tales of New Zealand glaciers, Easter Island and Egypt. Part photo album, part travel guide and part experiential public diary, his blog is best followed from a metropolitan office cubicle, so workers can fantasize about where in the world Gary Arndt is. Maybe one day we’ll follow his lead on our own exploration of the wonders of the world.
The blog that spawned a thousand fashion-blogger wannabes, Scott Schuman’s the Sartorialist is still the best chronicle of street fashion. The premise is simple: well-lit photos of well-dressed people, accompanied by minimal commentary. But it is the looks that Schuman manages to collect from all over the world that makes his blog a winner.
These days, most blogs trade in snark and wit, so it’s refreshing to find one that blatantly relishes in numbers and analysis. On Information Is Beautiful, you’ll learn oodles about, say, that nasty oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico or find a topographical map of narcotics use in San Francisco or see a carbon-dioxide graphic contrasting the way America drives now vs. a possible electric-car future. Overseen by David McCandless, a writer and designer based in London, the blog’s clean design, probing nature and impressive number crunching keeps us coming back.
Kitten videos have always been popular on the Web. But it wasn’t until October 2008, the time of the Shiba Inu puppy cam, that the full potential of animal videos as workplace distraction was realized. The Daily Kitten has emerged as puppy cam 2.0 — a daily, dependable onslaught of cuteness. Every day at precisely 10:07 a.m. E.T., a new photo is posted. But even more touching are the stories that accompany the photos and the board discussions that run alongside the daily updates — chat rooms that touch upon everything from animal health to adoptions. The Daily Kitten has grown in scope to be a respite for the animal lover and an indulgence for all of us who are addicted to cute.
Visiting Shorpy is like stumbling onto an old, dusty photo album in the attic. Except instead of finding portraits of Grandma and Grandpa, you’ll see cool photos from around the world (“Always something interesting,” as the blog describes itself). Each image is available in high resolution, making them perfect to print. There are more than 1,000 photos on the blog, and fans can pitch their own dusty favorites, adding to the collection.
An Architectural Digest for the young, trendy studio dweller — or the eco-minded, two-bedroom couple — Apartment Therapy is a how-to guide for restructuring one’s life on a smarter, cleaner, hipper scale. Visitors get to see how others have done up their apartments — from decor and green space to child gear, tech hookups and cool furnishings. It’s all about thinking outside the box — taking a 550-sq.-ft. pad in New York City or a similar small space in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston or Washington, D.C., and sharing how you made it breathe, stretch and pop. As the blog’s mission statement proclaims, “A calm, healthy, beautiful home is a necessary foundation for happiness and success in the world.” In addition to virtual-apartment ogling, be sure to check out “Marketplace,” where you can specify a city — and even a neighborhood — in your quest for that perfect couch, lamp, cookware or centerpiece.
It doesn’t take a gender expert to know that the nation’s news is still being reported, edited and broadcast mostly by men. But on Slate’s blog Double X — an extension of the site’s XX Factor blog — the day’s news is run through a frank and thoughtful female perspective. Serving as everything from a virtual book club and sex-discussion group to a parenting chat room, Double X’s many contributors are acutely aware of any story that marginalizes or stereotypes the lives of women. Contributors have weighed in on prescription-drug ads that medicalize female sexuality, research on the impact of children on marital satisfaction and the controversy surrounding Abby Sunderland, the 16-year-old girl who was rescued during her attempt to sail around the world solo.
Everyone has a good digital camera these days. Strobist teaches you how to be a good photographer. The project of a former photojournalist, Strobist explains techniques beyond point and shoot, with an emphasis on lighting on the cheap. Think cinematic-type images on a film-school budget. Even if you’re loath to venture beyond taking pictures on your phone, the blog’s collection of photographs is fun to flip through.
Since the mid-2000s, Roger Ebert has been unable to eat or speak, following complications from cancer surgery. Thus Roger Ebert’s Journal — not to mention his Twitter feed — has become a space for the film critic to discuss a mosaic of topics beyond the movie theater. He muses about quantum physics and the economic crisis, he ruminates on the newspaper business’s glory days, and he savages the Texas bureaucrats who don’t want Darwin taught in schools. He has also written extensively — and bravely — about his medical problems, detailing how his writing has improved since he lost his voice and how blogging has replaced the role of dinner conversation in his life, offering the sort of communal back-and-forth that he misses. His readers and followers have responded in kind, flooding his posts with appreciative, analytical and argumentative replies. The irony, of course, is that even though Ebert lost his ability to verbally communicate, never before has he been so accessible to his fans or engaged so colorfully in the conversation of the day. For his growing legion of readers around the world, Roger Ebert’s Journal is a place to read and react, and to let your imagination run wild. It might as well be dubbed Roger Ebert’s Dinner Table.
Is it Gawker? No, even if it occasionally seems like it. The Awl is a project of onetime Gawker writers Alex Balk and Choire Sicha, who branched out from Nick Denton’s mothership to found a blog with the motto “Be less stupid.” The Awl eschews the celebrity roundups and blind items of Gawker while aiming for a more original take. The result is a mix of news, media critiques, videos and longer essays that, even when low brow, usually manages to present itself in a high-brow way. The Awl is little more than a year old, and we expect it to continue to find its.
There’s no better mix of cool stuff and nostalgia-inducing throwbacks online than on GeekDad. Targeted at fathers with a nerd bent, this blog from Wired includes creative, kid-friendly projects like making your own monster movie and shares how to relive your impoverished youth (think buying a massive box of ramen). The blog’s strength is that it doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t. GeekDad is laser-focused on the father who wasn’t the cool kid in high school but is now the envy of every dad on the block.
Gizmodo may have drawn headlines for finding the fabled “lost iPhone 4,” but we’re still partial to its competitor, Engadget. In just over six years, it has grown into one of the biggest blogs on the Web, and managed to keep its cheeky, insidery tone despite being folded into the AOL mothership. The post volume is prodigious — Engadget covers so much, it’s tough for even the most dedicated of RSS readers to keep up. Bonus: a redesign has made the blog look sleek, much like the hot new devices it covers.
If you want to hone your public-policy chops, the Washington Note, a blog by think-tank director Steve Clemons, is a good place to start. The Washington Note focuses on foreign policy with a mix of clips, articles and Clemons’ own thoughtful analysis. The blog subscribes to the “less is more” ideal — there isn’t a huge volume, and some days have little more than a single post. But what is there, you’ll want to read.
It’s tough to say exactly what the Consumerist is. Though it falls under the purview of the folks at Consumer Reports, the blog doesn’t solely focus on product reviews or consumer complaints (though it does cover both those things, and well). Instead, it includes a mix of problem-solving, deals, tips and just plain awesome news. When Subway decided to tessellate the triangles of cheese on its sandwiches (ensuring maximum coverage and eliminating a longtime consumer complaint), the Consumerist was one of the first blogs to pick up the story. It’s a fun, fresh blend of buyer-orientated content that just works. Unlike, say, AT&T, a frequent target of scorn.
Once the insulated darling of the indie-music scene, Pitchfork has brought together a sprawling audience without losing ties to its roots. It features some of the most interesting, influential music writing online — smart without being snobby, critical but not pretentious — and remains one of the single best places to discover new music before all your friends jump on the bandwagon. In this way, it’s a trend setter for tastemakers. Looking for proof of Pitchfork’s appeal? Its annual music festival in Chicago has rapidly emerged as the cool kids’ alternative to Lollapalooza.
The Five Most Essential Blogs of 2010
The Five Most Overrated Blogs of 2010
p.s. To tell the truth, I’m not sure if that I agree completely or at all. In fact, I would say that the Time Magazine’s 2010 list is probably even more overrated. Why? Just take a closer look at the list they’ve created. They spread 35 results in 35 different pages. That is not a list, it’s a page-view-generator for ads. Mainstream media still needs to get a clue of what is going on the interwebs. [via Time]