I've decided to play the underdog for a while.
As an alternative to Google Reader I'm exploring the more obscure Netvibes service. Tonight I figured out how to add RSS/Atom feeds so I can follow a few blogs of friends--I'll add more soon--and I'm pretty impressed with its flexibility and showmanship. I don't know if it's superior, but it's fun and it's not very well known, I don't think. I only discovered it because it turned up in a StatCounter report. It turned up a lot: I'm guessing someone is checking me out daily through Netvibes, or else Sweven Volant turns up in their blog searches regularly.
And instead of Twitter I'm going to pay more attention to Tumblr. I've noted in the past how I like how much more information it can receive and display. I'm going to capitalize on that and diversify my input there.
If anyone out there reading these words is also using Netvibes or Tumblr, please send me your links so we can connect. If nothing else I'll just add you to my Friends lists, however that's done, and we will have a small, quiet, private network. I've got Jaffa Cakes.