My head is going to explode. This is one of those weeks when I'd like to stick pencils in my eyes to relieve the pressure.
The big school auction is 10 days away and I'm among the lead volunteers tearing their hair out to make it all happen. Deadlines are looming for summer camp sign-ups for the kids (this deserves it's own separate blog...which I'll get to this week!). My house is a wreck. The dryer isn't drying. I've got to get to a police station to deal with a "no right turn" traffic ticket. Oh --- and aren't taxes due soon?
Then there's the matter of whipping something up for tomorrow's "Kitchen Think." I'm often asked how I come up with topics. Topics are easy. Interesting topics are a little trickier. Many are inspired by digging a little deeper into the news of the day. Others grow out of things my friends are talking about or dealing with. And others come from my own personal experiences.
But today, since I'm in serious scramble-mode, I'll tell you my secret of how to find out quickly what people are interested in and what they're talking about now.
Go to The NYTimes website, scroll down toward the bottom...and look there to the right. You'll find a box titled "Most Popular" which is split into those three sections. "Emailed" means the top stories from the paper that people are emailing one another. "Blogged" means the top stories that bloggers are linking to in their blogs. And "searched" are the top ten topics people are searching for...which ALWAYS includes "sex" and "Iraq" (sex and death - figures).
You'll notice that in today's "Most Emailed" section are two fascinating stories that would make great "Kitchen Think" topics: 1) The trend, reported by the National Association of Homebuilders, for dual master "his and her" bedrooms, and 2) the serious science of laughter. Since I don't have the time today to write about either....please click through and enjoy them on the Times site.
The NYTimes isn't the only place where you can find "The Most." The LATimes front web page has a "Most Viewed" and "Most Emailed" stories list. NPR has a "Most Emailed" list. The New Yorker lists its "Most Read" pieces. Time Magazine has "Most Popular," as does its chief competitor, Newsweek.
ABC News has a "Most Viewed Video" section on its front page. CBS News' "Most Popular" section has stories, videos and photos. And CNN updates its "Most Watched" and "Best Video" section every two hours.
What's great about all these is that they are driven by the people visiting these sites - and not an editor employed by the site. Therefore, they are truly representative of what people are interested in, and sharing with one another.
The examples I used are some of the sites I cruise everyday. But you might want to check your favorite sites to see if they offer this feature. It's a great way to catch up on things you're interested in -- and save some time doing it!
In fact, how I get my news - and how you are getting yours - has been researched in great detail and is the core finding of the annual report on the state of journalism called The State of the Media 2007. As you can read here in The LATimes, people like you and me are increasingly splintering away from traditional methods of news gathering, and have narrowed our focus to view and read what interests us.
And our new viewing and reading habits have forced mainstream media and the journalists who work in it, to do exactly the same thing in order to survive in a world with too many choices.
The news has changed, because life has changed. I'm far from the only person who's life seems to have become more demanding. And the bottom line is that our demanding lifestyles have resulted in all of us needing things like the news to be on demand as well. And that's the primary reason our news habits have changed.
So if you'll excuse me now -- I need to turn into "Mom on Demand" and go pick up my kids at school.
Have you heard
it was on the news
your child can read you like a bedtime story
Like a Magazine
Like a has-been out to grass
Like afternoon T.V.
Why is my life going by so fast?
Hello, (I love you)
Do you have a tip you'd like to share for finding what you like to read on the web? Tell us about it by clicking below on "Comments" and letting us in on your secret.