Farhad Manjoo at Slate has a post that starts off being about Tina Brown’s new Huffington Post-style media site, The Daily Beast, but winds up being a meditation on what he looks for in an “aggregator” (an unfortunate term that calls to mind some kind of industrial process that collects gravel or wood chips or metal shavings), and his thoughts are very similar to my own. I also use a host of sites that collect the “news” — broadly speaking — from the Web for me, including many of the same ones Farhad mentions: Techmeme, Memeorandum, Huffington Post, Digg, Fark, Google News, Buzzfeed, BoingBoing, Kottke, FriendFeed and Google Reader.
Why so many? Because I’ve got a lot of different interests, and no single aggregator can possibly serve them all — not even a daily newspaper, which is supposed to be one of the broadest platforms available. Some of what I’m interested in is tech and Web stuff, and Techmeme and Hacker News and Kottke and Digg and others fill that need; if it’s politics then it’s Memeo and Huffington Post and Google News; sometimes I’m looking for something unusual or funny to pass the time, and then Fark and Buzzfeed and others do the job. It’s difficult — although not impossible — to imagine a single aggregator being able to fill all of those needs.