John Tropea has followed his list of 20 blogs with Blog network as your social filter where he says he really doesn't need to know what blogs I read. He relies on me to filter everything from these blogs and other sources and then post those that are most interesting. With several good social filters, it is fairly easy to get a good picture of what is happening in any given topic area.
But, how can I take advantage of this filtering beyond simply reading their blogs? Why not set up a search that just hits my network, rather than the whole web? There are several ways to do this. Here is one that John suggests too:
I've got an account with Lijit and have been exploring it for the last few months. I told it about my network of fellow bloggers. Now, when I want to search for articles on a given topic, I might hit Google or I might ask Lijit to just search across my network: have people I know written about a topic? I usually find my friends' work much more accessible than that of an unknown third party.
And what if I remember writing about that topic, but can't find it quickly? The same Lijit search gives me access to matches on anything I've claimed as "my content." That might be my blog or my Twitter stream or one of several other sources. Lijit will check all of it. (I can also limit it to this blog specifically.) I wonder if this kind of service could answer some of Steve Rubel's issues with Search is Broken?
Lijit also make a "search wijit" that I've installed on my blog instead of the default search function from Movable Type. It doesn't catch items I've just published, but I like how it present search results and lets people do recursive searches. It also gives you the same flexibility in searching the blog, all content I've declared as "mine," or my entire network.
Oh, and I've set up a quick shortcut via ActiveWords to fire off a Lijit search, so there are no bookmarks or toolbars to remember. Based on my Lijit statistics, I am far and away the biggest user of Lijit search on my blog.