Sifting Through the World Wide Web
The web has become incredibly large. The Great Library at Alexandria, the main repository of the ancient world, numbered a half-million volumes. The Public library in New York City today holds an impressive 42 million items. However the World Wide Web now contains over 100 billion public pages, all of which were created in the last 18 years. Pages related to home brewing alone number in the millions.
Web 2.0 helps you sort find the gems in this huge pile of web debris. After several months experimenting with many popular sites such as Digg, Delicious, and others I’ve found relatively few of these new “Web 2.0” sites have a significant brewing presence.
When making this short list, I purposely left out discussion forums, blogs and some of the discussion based brewing community sites as I intend to feature these in future articles. I have limited myself to just four web 2.0 sites I have personally decided to participate in:
BrewPoll.com Home Brewing and Craft Beer News
BrewPoll is a “digg-like” social news site that we helped to start a few months ago that ranks stories based on the number of votes they receive. Registered users can submit articles and web sites from around the web, and anyone can vote on stories. The site has over 170 stories and 100+ members in its first 2 months of operation. If you want the latest home brewing or beer news, this is a great place to start.
New stories appear on the “Upcoming News” page first until they accumulate enough votes to reach the front page. Be sure to visit the “upcoming news” tab and drop some votes there, as this is the only way that top stories will reach the front page.
The beer blogging community has embraced BrewPoll over the last two months and many of the most popular bloggers now have Brewpoll vote count buttons on their site, and there is even a wordpress plugin for it. It is an enjoyable way to get regular updates on a variety of stories on craft beer and home brewing from around the web. You can subscribe to regular delivery via email or RSS feed from the main page.
Twitter is another unique Web 2.0 site. Twitter is based on the concept of microblogging – sending really short text messages out to a list of friends. In fact, each twitter entry is limited to 140 characters. You can link twitter to your cell phone text message system so you can also twitter on the go.
Twitter also lets you follow anyone you want, and posts from those you follow will show up on your twitter home page. The power in twitter is the ability to pick who you wish to listen to and get instant updates from them. In my case, I follow fellow brewers and beer bloggers to get the latest information and news stories quickly.
My twitter feed if you wish to follow me is: beersmith. Check out my list of followers and followed to find fellow brewers who twitter.
BrewWiki.com Brewing Encyclopedia
BrewWiki is a site we started about 2 years ago as a dedicated Home Brewing Encyclopedia. For those unfamiliar with the “Wiki concept” (see Wikipedia), a Wiki is a user-editable set of pages where any member can edit or add content to the site. The site therefore becomes a collection of knowledge created and updated by its members.
Wikipedia is an example of a comprehensive Encyclopedia. BrewWiki attempts to provide the same service, and in fact uses the same underlying software, but is much more narrowly focused on home brewing. Several other brewing Wiki’s have been set up by others including notables such as the Home Brew Talk Wiki, but BrewWiki is well organized, and has an excellent collection of brewing reference pages.
The main page on BrewWiki has a series of portals listed for major brewing topics and articles leading to hundreds of pages of user-submitted content. If you are looking for some great external resources on home brewing, try the brewing references page on BrewWiki. The club listing and supplier listing pages are also quite popular.
Stumbleupon is another interesting site with a significant home brewing presence. The basic concept is that you can “thumbs up” any web site you visit using a toolbar you install from the site. Another button lets you “stumble” to sites based on topics you are interested in. For example, stumbling from the Homebrewing page will take you to a number of pages on homebrewing. Popular sites (measured by thumbs up) get visited more frequently.
While I’m not in love with the whole “random stumbling” concept, more popular sites are featured more frequently. The reason I included Stumbleupon is that there are a number of active “homebrew stumblers” on the site that post fresh content and actively vote on sites. Also they have a separate tag/topic listed for “Homebrewing” which serves as a central place for homebrewers to submit stories. This blog has had quite a bit of traffic as a result of stumblers voting positively on our pages, and it appears it has more people interested in home brewing than I’ve seen on other major social sites. Here is my stumbleupon profile.
If you know of other useful Web 2.0 sites that are focused on home brewing, please leave us a comment. I plan to do additional articles in the future on top brewing discussion forums, brewing communities, blogs and useful brewing web sites in the near future. Thank you for joining us on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. If you enjoy our articles, you can learn more about our free email and RSS subscriptions here.
Related Beer Brewing Articles from BeerSmith:
- New BrewPoll Home Brewing and Craft Beer News Site
- BrewPoll Home Brewing and Craft Beer News Site
- BeerSmith Ten Year Anniversary
- Adventures in Homebrewing
- BeerSmith Home Brewing Radio – 24/7 Beer Brewing
- The BeerSmith Homebrewing Blog – Third Anniversary
- One Year of The BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog
- Getting the Most from the BeerSmith Recipes Cloud
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