Blog Experiment

Mark Bernstein’s experiment on simulating blogger behaviour. He has created 600 artificial bloggers (in software) and is checking out impact of various factors on bloggers. Initial conclusions: “Responsible webloggers need to avoid getting into a rut of reading and citing the same sites all the time. Reading widely, and changing your weblogging habits often, are the best ways to keep your own weblog and the entire weblog community fresh and lively.”

It’s a good point. Even while blogging, we all get into a comfort zone — the same blogs, the same look, “friends”. This needs to change every once in a while — we need to expose ourselves to new ideas, like reading a new book. Since blogging mirror our interests, it means bloggers need to come out with innovative new thoughts every once in a while to avoid becoming repititive.

BlogStreet Beta

We’ve made available our blog directory and search engine at BlogStreet.com. Its a very, very preliminary effort, and there will be a lot of things which we will be doing in the coming weeks. But, it’s a start. We’ve cataloged about 150 blogs so far, but this number will go up in the coming days.

A word on the search as it is now: we bot the top pages of the blogs cataloged and do a keyword search on it. Even though this is quite primitive, it can be quite helpful to track what bloggers are talking about — unlike Blogdex and Daypop which focus only on the links. We’ll also be adding our own link analysis soon.

The view of BlogStreet in the coming months is to create a site which can help in identifying clusters of bloggers and people. We want to use some of the ideas of “Emergence” and see what can come out of these applied to blogs.

Some initial thinking: Blogs have a combination of “friends” (blogrolls), their entries (the blog posts) which have a mix of links and words, and in some cases, comments. Google looks at the pages as a whole, and its PageRank technology does not (at least from what I have read) distinguish between the links on a page.

In the context of Blogs, this differentiation needs to be done: links at the top of a BlogRoll are more “friendlier” than the ones at the bottom. Also, stories “decay” as one moves lower down the index page — they become older. A search engine for Blogs will need to keep in mind the unique structure of blogs, and make use of the archive pages also (with the permalinks).

Blogs are what the Web should have been in the first place: about people talking about their interests and areas of expertise, on a regular basis. Its been a fascinating ride for me, personally, in the last few months because blogs (more so, bloggers) have helped bring about a richer understanding of the various happenings and innovations that are going on around us.

Blogs give the underdogs a chance to get known — using the power of ideas and knowledge. Websites never did create a level playing field; Blogs can.

Dell Recycles

An article in News.com on Dell’s recycling program. Of late, the clamour for recycling has increased. In Japan, IBM and Hitachi launched a similar program.

I wonder why they aren’t thinking of shipping these computers to the lower-income countries of the world. Computers can work quite well for many years. What’s needed is the motherboard — at rock-bottm prices. This stripped-down PC can become a thin client talking to a thick server, and provide computing to a whole class of users who’ve never had access to computing because of the cost.

This has the potential to rejuvenate the IT sector dramatically. Companies focus on the coming recovery in countries like the US. How about opening up new markets which have 10x the number of potential users?

Intuit’s Small Business Focus

An article in News.com. Says an Intuit executive: “The reason were focused on the small-business space is because it’s a massive opportunity that just dwarfs any opportunity we’re focused on in the consumer space. These businesses have demonstrated a willingness to pay for products and services that help them run their business better.”

An even bigger opportunities lies in addressing the small and medium-sized businesses in the emerging markets of the world.