Digital Musings: 10 Informative Sites


iStock_000019056620XSmallDigital research is imperative for our industry – and taking a personal interest in that research as a customer/community member/subscriber is one of the best methods to self-educate and grow.  So many of my peers reference the following content sites as TOP sites for news, shopping, entertainment, game & tech info, etc (myself included): Techcrunch, Mashable, Huffington Post, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, etc.


While speaking with our Metaverse Mod Squad social media team today, I asked about where they found their news/entertainment – the kind of niche information from “off the beaten path.”  After all, we (as a team) are notorious for consuming mass amounts of digital content, and it’s necessary to stay ahead of the curve.  I think it’s healthy and important for social media experts to examine the sites they enjoy, personally, and think about the “je ne sais quoi” that lures a viewer in and makes a viewer a subscriber, paying customer, or an active community member.  Often its early adapter communities, or just digitally active communities, that stumble across information and experiences first.

When I started my career, I was addicted to YpulseCynopsis, and nerderific videocast The MMO Report (may it rest in peace).  As the years have gone by, some of my top URLs or content providers have moved on, some have been bought-out, and some still thrive.

The following are 10 examples of favorite sites I like to check during the day, night, or week, for professional & personal reasons:

  1. One Cool Thing A Day
    One Cool Thing A Day has been a favorite site of mine for about 3 years.  Super simple name for a super simple concept – it’s a blog that showcases one really cool piece of content found online.  It’s much more bite-sized and manageable then spending time digging through Reddit.
  2. Sarah’s Faves
    Sarah Evans is one of my favorite social media correspondents.  I have the pleasure of calling her a personal friend (we were in college together), and she has gone on to do AMAZING things.  Her site is constantly updating with social media news, and cool new “favorites” from our beloved digital frontier.
  3. KidsWire
    I’ve been a super fan of the Digital Engage folks for years (and their subsequent conferences).  The old “Virtual Worlds News” has taken a new name and format with KidsWire.  Want to know what’s going on in the Kids Digital Entertainment world?  This is the site for you!
  4. Modcloth
    I know, I know… it’s a clothing site!  Hear me out: look at how they aesthetically format their wares.  The UI design is simple, interesting, and clean.  The content keeps to a thematic arrangement, and new content is updated several times a day.  Also, the manner in which they collect and display customer feedback is simple and smooth.  Bonus? They have some kooky stuff (and, let’s face it, I’m kooky).
  5. Gilt
    TWO shopping sites in your list, Izzy?  Yup.  Where Modcloth avoids the schmancy, Gilt embraces it, yet brings the more economical opportunities to your browser.  My sister introduced this site to me a few years ago when I claimed I would never buy a purse that equates to the cost of a European flight.  Low & behold, some schmanciness at more affordable rates!  Since then, Gilt has definitely grown – it is for men, women, children, and (my favorite) TRAVEL.  Jetsetter offers some really interesting vacation packages.  *Le travel day dream sigh.*
  6. Youtube Channels:
    During one of my previous occupational lives I ran the safety & moderation for a children’s site out of the UK that allowed for video sharing.  Nightmare that it was for safety, I was forced to have my finger on the pulse of digital streaming entertainment – I knew what was pop culture hot, what was not,  and saw everything in between.  Most of the time, I knew about trending videos before they were celebrated by the likes of Twitter trends, Huffington Post, or Perez Hilton.  “Creative Parodies” and “How To” videos aside, I was always impressed by those with well-crafted, original content channels.  Here are some of my favorites:
    Toby Games (Games, Toby Turner is a Youtube celebrity, and one of the more tween/teen-friendly of the group)
    Nerdist (Nerdy Pop Culture with comedy team & celeb guests)
    Lizzie Bennet Diaries (Modern retelling of Pride & Prejudice)
    Conversations with My Two-Year-Old (Silly series parents will identify with)
    Slo Mo Guys (Kinda educational? Kids love it)
    Yogscast (Game reviewers, with a specialty in Minecraft)
  7. Snopes
    I love my family. Truly.  But I’ve noticed a non-stop trend of Facebook status inaccuracies, and I’ve found that sharing “Snopes” with them has been a wonderful educational tool to help curb the sharing of false information.  In addition, it’s been a great resource to see what odd trends are happening with misinformation!  It’s like Wikipedia for false rumors.
  8. How Stuff Works
    I find this site FASCINATING.  Also, it helps make you very strong asset when participating in Pub Quizzes.  Teachers could really use this site to build Science lesson plans for the super curious.
  9. Things Nerds Like
    I love that the term Nerd has transcended, and is no longer considered insulting to the mass public.  Things Nerds Like is a collection of blog posts that span “nerdom” – from comics to robots to cool new gadgets.  Also, I see for more nerdy entertainment awesomeness.
  10. Net Family News
    Anne Collier is a GOD in the family/youth media arena (digital usage, education, and safety).  She’s been reporting for more than a decade, and speaks around the world.  When I first ventured into the youth digital safety arena, my mentor at the time gave me a HUGE binder of all the newsletters ever sent by NFN.  She asks the right questions, and she puts heart and logic and understanding into her posts.

Everyone has their personal favorites – be they widely known, or more niche.  Share!  Share your favorite sites.  What URL can’t you live without in your weekly web-roamings?

Izzy Neis
Director of Digital Engagement & Strategy