Blogs are not yet quite organized, and theres plenty of work happening to do so. There have been a number of initiatives to map blogspace. Blogdex and Daypop provide information to whats hot right now in the world of blogs. They do so by analysing what bloggers are linking to and discussing. The problem I see is that this is too generic what I care about is whats hot in my microcommunity. Id like to know whats hot among the bloggers that I track, and what they are reading. This is not yet available.
Technorati and our own BlogStreet track the top blogs, based on whos linking to whom. BlogStreet also has a blog neighbourhood analyzer, which lets you find related blogs. Nick Denton is coming up with his project, codenamed Lafayette, later this year, which aims to turn the weblog network into accessible media, and help readers browse weblogs when they don’t know what they’re looking for.
These are still early days. Clay Shirky had a more in-depth analysis of the world of blogs and concluded: Though there are more new bloggers and more new readers every day, most of the new readers are adding to the traffic of the top few blogs, while most new blogs are getting below average traffic, a gap that will grow as the weblog world does. It’s not impossible to launch a good new blog and become widely read, but it’s harder than it was last year, and it will be harder still next year. At some point (probably one we’ve already passed), weblog technology will be seen as a platform for so many forms of publishing, filtering, aggregation, and syndication that blogging will stop referring to any particularly coherent activity. The term ‘blog’ will fall into the middle distance, as ‘home page’ and ‘portal’ have, words that used to mean some concrete thing, but which were stretched by use past the point of meaning.
The world of RSS and Blogs is a world of microcontent. Well end this week with a comment by Anil Dash, in his essay on the Microcontent Client, elaborates:
Microcontent is information published in short form, with its length dictated by the constraint of a single main topic and by the physical and technical limitations of the software and devices that we use to view digital content today. We’ve discovered in the last few years that navigating the web in meme-sized chunks is the natural idiom of the Internet.
Microcontent is being used as a more general term indicating content that conveys one primary idea or concept, is accessible through a single definitive URL or permalink, and is appropriately written and formatted for presentation in email clients, web browsers, or on handheld devices as needed. A day’s weather forcast, the arrival and departure times for an airplane flight, an abstract from a long publication, or a single instant message can all be examples of microcontent.
Anil Dash identifies three key activities that we do that are at the heart of microcontent: Searching, Aggregating and Authoring. Microcontent is at the heart of much of what well be discussing next week, as we look beyond RSS and Blogs.
Next Week: RSS, Blogs and Beyond (continued)