Unsung Blogger of the WeeK #1

As many have been doing, I have also been thinking about how the blogosphere can improve the discovery of new blogs. David Sifry says there are over 14.2 Million Blogs.  Even if we consider only the blogs that are updated weekly, it is around 1.84 Million Blogs.
If you only look at the Top 100/500.. lists it is obvious that most of the blogosphere is “Invisible” (the term  “Dark Blog” is being used for blogs that are password-protected). I have decided to start this new series to take on this problem of uncovering more of the Invisible Blogosphere.  In my humble opinion, if each one of us does this, we may uncover a few more interesting ones. As the first one in this series, I would like to highlight the accomplishments of Joe Kissell of  Interesting Thing of The Day. He is not exactly unsung, because he recently made it into the Feedster Top 500 but his accomplishments are  somewhat unsung, I think. I have been a huge  fan of Joe, ever since I  stumbled upon his site almost 12 months ago.  He made a commitment to write 1 article every day since June 2004, and after passing through some testing times, he managed to meet his commitment. Yes,  Peter Rojas, Om Malik and other Uber Bloggers write a lot of posts but the range of topics and the research that goes into every one of Joe’s articles is staggering . He is currently taking a vacation from Interesting Thing of the Day and I sincerely hope that he resumes. Here is a short interview with Joe that I conducted over email (lots of things to learn here):
1. What motivates you to keep writing almost every day?
Well, I should mention that the site is currently on a summer vacation of sorts, so the articles showing at the moment are repeats from last year. However, I did post articles every day for a solid year, and will return to regular (if  not quite daily) posting Real Soon Now (sic). To be perfectly honest, the only thing that kept me posting such long articles daily for that period of time was the fact that I’d made a public commitment to do so (and, of course, that those people who paid for a subscription expected to get their money’s worth). I wish I could say it’s because the site was paying me a decent salary, but until recently the income has been trivial. I also wish I could say it’s the deep sense of satisfaction I get from the writing process itself, but that’s true only on a rare occasion. But even without money or warm fuzzy feelings, the one thing that spurs me to keep going –and to keep making the site better–is the huge number of messages I receive from people who like what they read on my site. It’s no exaggeration to say that a single compliment can keep me going for days. 2. How do you identify such varied topics? Is there any secrets you can share?
I travel as much as I can, and many of my ideas come from the places I visit. And I read a lot–on dead trees as well as online. Lots of suggestions for topics come from my readers. But probably the biggest source of ideas is sitting around brainstorming with my wife, who is very smart and creative. 3. What methods do you employ to overcome the “Blogger’s Block”?
You know, it’s funny. I’m seldom at a loss for topics on Interesting Thing of the Day, but on my personal blog (I Am Joe’s Blog,jk.alt.cc), that happens all the time. It’s usually because I’m trying to come up with something extremely unusual, exciting, or interesting–and those things just don’t always appear. But if I lower my standards a bit (as it were) and just talk about whatever’s on my mind, even if it’s fairly mundane, I often find that turns into some of the most popular material. In any case, once I’ve chosen a topic and get a few sentences written, I almost never get stalled. (If I do, I go for a walk. That solves everything.) 4. What are your Top 5 Unsung Blogs ? (please include only those that are not in any Top 100/500 lists).
Disclaimer: I don’t read very many blogs, and most of the ones I do read are in the top 100 or so on everyone’s list. However, I do like these:
i. But She’s a Girl
ii. Jeff Carlson (.Thought)
iii. Kirkville
iv. Darren Barefoot
v. Going Postal 3000 5. What are your current book recommendations ? (1 or 2 is sufficient).
Right now I’m reading (and enjoying) How Proust Can Change
Your Life by Alain de Botton, and The
Secret Life of the Seine by Mort Rosenblum